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‘Private’ Bike Rack, We Hardly Knew Ye

IMG_0217Stephen Rex Brown All that’s left of the rack.

The bike rack on East Fourth Street that a scofflaw cyclist claimed as his own has been removed.

Kyle, the East Fourth Street resident who had his bike stolen from the rack last weekend, noticed that the rack was gone this morning. Sure enough, where once was an arched beam with “Private Bike Rack” painted on it there is now nothing more than six bolts in the sidewalk.

“It’s obviously a bummer that the bike rack had to go, but it’s better than having to put up with someone’s abuses,” said Kyle, who did not wish to give his last name for fear of a confrontation with the rack’s “owner.”

He added, “That guy probably wasn’t going to relent. If it were the bike rack or the guy, the only thing that would have changed is the rack.”

The Local is awaiting a response from The Department of Transportation, regarding whether it removed the rack between Avenues A and B. Back in October the department confirmed that it hadn’t installed the rack, and that it was illegal to claim it as one’s own. In fact, the department can bill whoever installed the rack for the expense of removing it. Of course, that seems unlikely given that the owner has never come forward, though rumors abound.

Update | 4:31 p.m. A spokeswoman for The Department of Transportation confirmed that workers removed the rack today, and that it had received no complaints about it since October. Read more…

Bicycle Stolen from Notorious ‘Private Rack’

IMG_0139Stephen Rex Brown Ten months after it first appeared, the “private” bike rack is still in place.

The city’s administrative code doesn’t allow it, but that hasn’t stopped someone from continuing to claim that the bike rack on East Fourth Street between Avenues A and B is private.

The bike stolen from the 'private' rack The stolen bike.

Now, one cyclist who dared to goad the person leaving menacing messages taped to bikes on the rack paid the ultimate price — his ride was stolen.

The cyclist, Kyle, who asked to be identified by only his first name for fear of a confrontation with the person writing the nasty notes, lives in a building facing the rack. He said he’d been flouting the “owner” of the rack’s demands for months.

In fact, the bicycle featured in The Local’s first story on the rack belonged to Kyle’s girlfriend. A note left on it in October read, “This is a private rack. Remove your bike or it will be done for you!!”

“We’ve been ignoring them. I’m not going to listen to that because it’s not legal,” Kyle said. “It’s crazy that this person thinks he can do that.”

It all came to a head last week. Read more…

Out of Sight for Two Minutes, a $2,000 Ride Disappears

UntitledDaniel Maurer The flyer for the stolen cycle.

Remember the guy who recovered his stolen bike after posting flyers around the neighborhood? Rich Minkoff is hoping he’ll be so lucky. The Greenpoint resident’s custom-built bike, estimated to be worth $2,000, disappeared from Avenue A last week, and now he has papered the area in an effort to get it back.

Mr. Minkoff said that around 10:30 a.m. Thursday, he met his girlfriend, who lives in Stuyvesant Town, at Table 12, the coffee shop at Avenue A and 12th Street. He rested his bike against a table outside of the café and walked in to fetch his girlfriend. Within two minutes, it was gone. Read more…

Cycling in the Spotlight, Literally


A new play at Theater for the New City about a bicycle shop encourages the audience to arrive by bike and then park their rides on the stage. “Bike Shop” is a one-woman musical about Bobby, a bike mechanic who tries to get back on her ride after a nasty cycling accident. According to the theater, Bobby “builds and fixes real bicycles onstage while backed up by a four-piece ‘Bicycle Band.'” If you do end up riding to the show, which premieres on Thursday, just be careful when you make turns out of the bike lane. You don’t want to end up getting a ticket like cyclist Evan Neumann, who was so outraged by the citation he received while riding in the Lower East Side that he is suing the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

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. Read more…

15 Congested and Dangerous Intersections Targeted for Improvement

houstonandboweryNatalie Rinn The intersection of Bowery and Houston.

Ten East Village intersections have been targeted for improvement by the Department of Transportation, including one – the intersection of Houston and Bowery – that has seen a bevy of biking accidents.

Last night at a joint meeting of Community Boards 2 and 3, the department unveiled the findings of a two-year survey covering a southern portion of the East Village as well as portions of Greenwich Village, NoLIta, and the Lower East Side. The study, which can be seen below, identified 15 intersections (10 of them in the East Village) that the city will target for future makeovers, including five intersections (one in the East Village) that were said to be “high accident locations.” From 2008 to 2010, the intersection of Avenue A and First Street saw 25 accidents, 18 of which resulted in injuries and one of which resulted in the death of a pedestrian.

Though the intersection of Houston Street and Bowery wasn’t among those identified by the D.O.T. as the most dangerous, it was that crossing – the city’s most accident-prone intersection for bicyclists from 1995 to 2009 – that initiated the study to begin with, and it was the one most East Village residents spoke up about. The study found noticeable congestion at the intersection, where 10 to 15 percent of daytime vehicles were trucks, and noted that it was in need of changes to better accommodate turns. Read more…

At Mudspot, Cars Lose Parking Space To Bike Rack

Bike Parking at Smith and Sackett StreetsGersh Kuntzman The only other example of in-street parking in the city at Smith and Sackett Streets in Brooklyn.

The Mudspot on East Ninth Street will get the first in-street bike parking of its kind in Manhattan, which will claim one space for a car and give cyclists eights new spots to lock up.

“As cycling increases in popularity, we’re starting to look to the street for parking,” said Hayes Lord, the bicycle program director for the Department of Transportation.

Under the plan, a car-length space would be cordoned off with planters and four circular bike racks would be installed. Mudspot lobbied for the additional parking and will be responsible for keeping the area clean.

During a presentation to Community Board 3’s Transportation Committee, Transportation official Wallace Murray said that the parking would help alleviate the foot-traffic jam caused by the numerous bicycles locked up in front of the cafe just as the sidewalk narrows. Read more…

Bike Stolen on Christmas Eve Is Recovered in Time for New Year’s

stolenDaniel Maurer

Evan McKnight, who discovered on Christmas Day that his $1,100 bicycle had been stolen from his East 10th Street apartment building, has recovered the bike and will end the year on a positive note – though he’s out $50 that he spent printing “Stolen Bike” flyers plus $40 that had to be paid to the man who returned the custom wheels after seeing one of the flyers posted at a local shop.

Mr. McKnight said that yesterday evening, a man came into Continuum Cycles on Avenue B to buy a tire tube for a bike he had purchased on the street the previous night. He told the rest of the story in an e-mail to The Local.

On his way out of the shop he noticed one of my flyers. He gets home to his new bike and after deducing that he’s in fact purchased a stolen bike from the ‘homeless man’ he decides to bring it back to Continuum Cycles. He speaks with my friend Jeff and tells him he doesn’t want the reward money he just wants his $40 back. Jeff hands it over out of pocket, and sends me a text later that night to let me know he had my bike.

Jeff Underwood, the owner of Continuum Cycles, said that at least once a day, someone comes into his shop complaining about a stolen bike, and complaints about stolen parts are even more numerous. (The editor of this blog had his locked bike stolen on the Bowery last month, a couple of months after having to replace a stolen seat.) Read more…

More Deadly Than Delancey? Bowery and Houston Most Accident-Prone for Cyclists

Phillip Kalantzis-Cope

Newly released data of crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists reveals that Bowery and East Houston Street was the city’s most accident-prone intersection for bicyclists from 1995 to 2009.

During that time span, there were 41 accidents at the intersection, according to the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, which has compiled new data from the New York State Department of Transportation in an interactive map called Crashstat.

Transportation Alternatives said the new statistics pointed to the need for further reforms that would make the city more pedestrian-and-cyclist-friendly.

“As long as the default response to a motor vehicle crash is that it’s an accident, the behavior that’s killing and injuring people will continue,” wrote the group’s director, Paul Steely White, in a press release.
Read more…

The Day | Last of the Bohemians

Phillip Kalantzis-Cope

Good morning, East Village.

City Room profiles Larry Fagin, a poet and teacher who, at the age of 74, is “one of the East Village’s last standing bohemians.” He lives in a two-bedroom walk-up in Allen Ginsberg’s old building. His rent has almost tripled since he took the apartment in 1968 – yet he’s still paying only $150 a month.

EV Grieve notes that the Upright Citizens Brigade has opened its outpost on East 3rd Street, complete with Hot Chicks Room.

Thought Delancey was a bad street to bike on? Brooklyn Spoke thinks the Bowery is also a “death-trap” for bikers, and believes there has been “too much focus on what’s happening on the Manhattan Bridge and not enough on what’s happening when cyclists get off of it.” Read more…

I ♥ Bicycles

blue bike brown paper bagMario Ramirez

The bicycle is such a decorous, ingenious, quiet machine, it’s a shame it has become a politicized one as well. But when you see somebody on a bike with a placard attached to it which reads A QUIET PROTEST AGAINST OIL, you know Politicization has arrived. (On First Avenue, in this case.)

Beautiful and ingenious as the bicycle may be, the human body is even more beautiful and ingenious, at least until the age of 60, and especially below the age of 30. And let’s not forget one important thing. As a pedestrian, I also fall into the category of partaking in A QUIET PROTEST AGAINST OIL, unless I’m in a cab. I just don’t have a sign, or a T-shirt, with which to make this fact plain. But I’m going to get one. It’s going to be a quiet protest against other, equally quiet protests.
Read more…