Wednesday: Support Bike Share in Fort Greene
The story is all too familiar.
And the arguments are all the same, too. A concern over historic preservation, scary claims about cars circling endlessly for parking creating congestion and pollution, specious claims of danger made by people who do not engage in the activity they’re criticizing… the list goes on even as it never changes.
In response to complaints about the location of certain Citi Bike stations in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, Councilmember Letitia James is holding a town hall meeting about the bike share program. You can bet that opponents, no matter how small in number, will be out in full force to make their opinions known. If you live or work in Fort Greene or Clinton Hill, it’s absolutely critical that you attend this meeting and voice your strong support for Citi Bike.
Tish James has been a big supporter of bike share so far and I hope that her main point throughout this meeting is “let’s see.” Giving in to NIMBYism after the community had ample chances to offer its input but before the system has even launched is truly the wrong way to go here, since once Citi Bike goes live it will produce a treasure trove of data about how each station works and who is using it. If it turns out that a specific station isn’t being used as anticipated or is creating problems, it can be moved somewhere else.
Many of the current complaints ring hollow, at least when juxtaposed with the relative silence when it comes to similar problems caused by automobiles. To my knowledge, no one has ever been awakened at 4 AM by a bike alarm going off. Bike share bicycles will not come equipped with giant sound systems, so there’s no fear of throbbing base shaking your apartment windows in the middle of the night. While residents of my building are constantly disturbed by the revving of motorcycle engines as they race up and down 4th Avenue, we have so far logged zero complaints to 311 about the bike lane on 3rd. And will bike share stations become magnets for trash and take up too much space? Probably not.
You know how I feel about arguments about historic preservation. Unless and until people are willing to remove all of the historically incongruous automobiles from their blocks, complaints about Citi Bike stations also ring hollow. If a Citi Bike station defouls your charming neighborhood due to its corporate logos, then anything that bears the symbol of an automobile company also needs to go. As a matter of fact, I am not aware of any off-brand or generic automobiles specifically designed to blend in with Brooklyn brownstones.
So please ttend this meeting if you can. Although a small cadre of naysayers will never be assuaged by things such as facts and data, I believe that most opposition will melt away once the bikes are in the stations and the system is active. Unfortunately for now, the gap between Citi Bike’s installation and its upcoming launch is a giant vacuum into which every wild NIMBY fear is sucked.
The Town Hall will take place at 6:30 this Wednesday, April 24th, at the Benjamin Banneker Acadey, 71-77 Clinton Avenue. Get there early if you can. For more info and to RSVP, please visit BikeNYC.org.