New Yorkers divided over Citi Bike program

Posted at 10:34 PM, May 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-24 22:49:38-04

Some of the new Citi bikes are parked at the stations and just about ready to get on the road when the program officially rolls out on Monday.

But even here, in a bike lane next to a park on Delancy Street, some people continue to gripe about the program and the space these bike racks take up.

“It’s horrible, it takes up parking spaces, 30 minutes, it’s a waste,” said Billy Heredia.

Clearly Heredia is not on board with the new Citi Bike program even after seeing the new bikes.  But he’s isn’t alone.

So far a hand full of lawsuits have been filed about the location of the bike sharing stations. Complaints range from last minute switches without informing the public, to failure to meet Department of Transportation Codes, to simply blocking entrances to buildings.

In a statement attorney Jeffrey Barr, who represents at least three of the lawsuits against the city, told us, “No longer can your taxi let you out in front of your building.  You have to go to the corner.  Deliveries are now almost impossible. It appears as if the whole program is intended by DOT as another attempt to interfere with traffic and make it more difficult for New Yorkers to get around town.”

But Citi Bike organizers have asserted time and time again that the public was given ample opportunity to weigh in on the location of the stations over the course of two years at more than 400 community meetings.

The Citi Bike website even states: Station locations are based on population and transit needs, and were selected through a participatory public input process.

Many people, like Rick Moser, are excited about the new program. Moser signed up weeks ago and couldn’t wait to try the bikes out as soon as he saw them.

“There’s a station by our apartment, there’s a station by my office and it’s a nice alternative.  There’s not really a lot of places where I work to park a bike outside or to bring it in the office,” he said.

Even though biker Tony Traverso says he’s not likely to use the program he’s happy to see more bikes on the street. And with a tweaking, he says he doesn’t think the stations will be a problem for anyone.

“I think that they’ll be some fine tuning involved, but sooner or later they’ll be in all the right places,” he said.