Suggestions for Bike-Share Locations Just Keep Rolling In

CB3 community planning bike shareKathryn Doyle

At a planning workshop on Monday night, the Department of Transportation asked residents of the East Village and Lower East Side to help it pare down a glut of suggestions about where it should place bicycles when it debuts its bike-share program this summer – but by the end of the session, its map had only grown denser with recommendations.

At the workshop, sponsored in part by the program’s operator, Alta Bicycle Share – which has launched similar programs in Boston, Montreal, and Washington, D.C. – the department unveiled a map in which its own preferences for kiosk locations were marked in blue and the suggestions of local business owners were marked in purple. The department had divided the map into 1,000-square-foot quadrants. By May, it hopes to decide where each kiosk will be placed – about one per every quadrant, or roughly one every four blocks.

With a multitude of suggested locations and just 600 stations planned in an area that includes Manhattan south of 79th Street and parts of Brooklyn plus satellite locations in the Bronx and Staten Island, the department asked residents to help it identify the worthiest locations and eliminate others. But the workshop’s couple dozen participants didn’t do much to narrow things down.

bikesRay LeMoine A bike share demonstration
at Tompkins Square Park.

David Crane, the chair of Community Board 3’s Transportation and Public Safety committee, suggested placing bikes at Peretz Square, Astor Place, and Delancey and Norfolk Streets, where a new plaza is in the works. “Those places get the most pedestrian traffic in the whole area,” he said. Mr. Crane also advocated for bikes east of Tompkins Square Park, where he said residents are more than 15 minutes from the closest subway stop.

Virginie Smollet, a 44-year-old French native who frequently rides her bike around her Lower East Side neighborhood, wanted to see bikes moved around during the day, according to need. “The problem in Paris is that all the bikes are gone after 8 a.m., from commuters,” she said.

Ms. Smollet added an arrow near the B, D stop at Grand Street, which she uses for her commute.

Others complained that younger students wouldn’t be able to use the bicycles to get to school, since they’ll only be available to those above the age of 16.

As more arrows were added to the map, Department of Transportation representatives showed signs of frustration, but in an e-mail to The Local, the department’s press secretary, Seth Solomonow, struck a positive note: “There was a lot of enthusiasm at the meeting,” he wrote. He added, “We’re also getting ideas from the portal, from elected officials, and from cultural and other institutions. Once we pull that all together we’ll revise the list and come back to the board in the coming months.”

Here’s where East Villagers want to see bike-share kiosks. Which locations would you add or take away?

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