About 350 parking spaces will be turned into Citi Bike stations as the bike share program expands this year into new neighborhoods like the Upper West Side, Upper East Side and Williamsburg, according to the city’s transportation department.
Almost 170 Citi Bike stations are being installed in Long Island City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Upper East Side, and Upper West Side, with about 2,000 new bikes hitting their streets.
More parking spaces will be converted in the Manhattan neighborhoods that are part of Citi Bike’s expansion than in Brooklyn and Queens.
“The communities of Long Island City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg and Bedford-Stuyvesant preferred stations on sidewalks while residents in the UES and UWS preferred roadbed locations,” the DOT said in a statement.
Some Manhattan residents said they preferred getting a bike station to commute with — while others mourned the loss of precious car parking in the city.
Cyclist and driver Kirk MacDonald, 75, said he supported getting Citi Bikes on West 78th Street near Columbus Avenue, but that the size of the planned station will be too big for his narrow street.
“We will lose five spaces. We really value the parking here,” he said. “A lot of people like bikes, but a large bike rack is too big. We are just being offered too many.”
Composer Gavin Spencer, 62, of the Upper West Side, said he had been told by the DOT that nearly 60 bikes would be coming to his street and he expects to lose many spaces.
He both drives and cycles, and said it would be nice to keep the parking spaces. But he is more concerned about the increase in foot traffic on his block from the station than spending more time looking for parking.
“Nobody wants this thing on this block at this size,” he said. “It will not increase the quality of life for this residential block.”
The DOT said it is reviewing that Upper West Side location because of nearby construction.
Others residents and businesses have been excited about Citi Bike’s expansion– and want more bikes, not fewer.
“People want more stations,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the Long Island City Partnership.
“We have 26 hotels — a lot of people want to experience the city from the seat of a bike. The transit system is really maxed out, a lot of work is going on now.”
Transportation Alternatives said the loss of space was a small cost of transitioning to a better transit system.
“You can park several bikes in the space for one car,” said Paul Steely White of Transportation Alternatives. “The average Citi Bike gets seven rides a day.”
The DOT said hundreds of parking spaces were affected during the launch of Citi Bike in Manhattan — but it didn’t do a block-by-block analysis. The agency said 35 spaces were lost in Brooklyn during the launch. It has held over 500 community meetings in picking Citi Bike locations.
Mitchell Moss, of the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation, said that there is always steep demand for street space — and that the city gives thousands of spaces away in free parking.
“The curbside space on city streets is intensely used since we do not have back alleys for garbage pick-up, parking, or delivery,” he said.
He also thinks bike stations are much more efficient.
“The typical Citi Bike share station serves more people than the parking spaces it replaces since you can fit multiple bikes into one parking place,” he added.