The city — make that Mayor Adams’ Office — has agreed to delay the installation of Citi Bike docking stations that are coming to Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village.
The delay, or “pause” as some are telling the Chronicle, came after a meeting two weeks ago at the district office of Councilman Bob Holden (D-Maspeth) that included civic and community leaders, city Department of Transportation officials and Mayor Adams’ Senior Advisor Tiffany Raspberry.
Community members have argued that the locations of between 50 and 60 docks were made without adequate community participation, particularly those that would be placed in the street at the expense of residential and business on-street parking.
The DOT ruffled many feathers in November upon announcing that installations would begin in December. Now that has been put off until January.
“When Mayor Adams heard that the community was upset that input wasn’t considered, he sent top officials from the DOT and his own staff,” said Eric Butkiewicz, chairman of the Transportation Committee of Community Board 5.
“I give him credit for this.”
Butkiewicz and Tony Nunziato, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, said the community had offered a number of alternatives, including a report prepared by Christina Wilkinson of the JPCA and Newtown Historical Society that proponents said would have greatly reduced the number of street stations with only minor alterations to the DOT plan. Butkiewicz placed blame for the problems on the de Blasio administration
“It’s on pause pending community feedback,” Butkiewicz said. “We were pleased to hear that, because that’s all we wanted. We understand that contracts had been entered into a number of years ago, putting everyone into a situation that’s hard to get out of. What we want is the maximum benefit for the community while eliminating potential problems downstream.”
A DOT spokesman said in an email that the agency will be ready.
“Citi Bike has proven to be a wildly popular transportation option with ridership soaring since the pandemic,” he said. “DOT continues to thoughtfully incorporate community feedback and we’re excited to roll out new stations in January.”
Nunziato said the loss of parking spaces would be a hardship for many seniors who rely on cars to get around. A third-generation businessman, he said it could destroy small businesses still reeling from the pandemic.
“They’re pitting businesses against each other,” he said. “Citi Bike is a business. They’d be taking parking spaces from small businesses and giving them to a competing business. Small businesses built this city. Take parking away from small business and you close small businesses.”
Holden, who brokered the truce, backed his constituents in an email.
“Community input on any public works project is essential and should never be ignored,” he said. “Moving forward with the Citibike expansion without important input from the community board, civic leaders, and residents is unacceptable and contrary to the stipulations of their contract with the DOT.”