NYC bike-share stations upset some NYers

Gary Ormiston reacts to the large NYC Bike Gary Ormiston reacts to the large NYC Bike Share parking outside of 99 Bank St. in Greenwich Village at the corner of Hudson street. (April 29, 2013) Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

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As the city works to get its bike-share program going by the end of the month, some residents and small businesses are fed up with the rental stations popping up on their streets.

Thursday night, Community Board 2 in Manhattan will host a forum where residents can talk about how the racks, being installed by the city Department of Transportation for Citi Bike, are grinding their gears.

"They have to come up with something other than this," said Gary Ormiston, 62. He said he's annoyed because the city didn't notify him before it put up one of its 330 stations outside his West Village apartment building.

A common complaint has been the amount of space the bikes racks take up in front of an apartment building.

A lawsuit by tenants at 99 Bank St. in the West Village was thrown out last week. They had complained that the 70-foot station took up too much space on their cobblestone block.

Paul Kequis, the building's super, said it blocked the entrance to the front lobby and caused a safety concern. "How is a firetruck supposed to park here?" he asked.

Responding to some of their concerns, the city removed the racks that covered the Bank Street entrance and placed a concrete slab to separate the cars and bikes Tuesday morning.

DOT didn't comment about the change, and several residents said the change did not alleviate their concerns.

More than 5,000 applicants have signed up for the bike share service in the first 48 hours of registration.

"I'm not against the program, but this is not the way to do it," said tenant Dorothy Rowan, 57. "When the bikes come in, there will be no room for anyone on the road."

The stations also frustrate drivers who are already having problems finding a parking space, critics say.

Several drivers reported that the city towed their cars in what were once legal spots without notice, because the cars were near the empty racks.

A DOT spokesman said they posted no parking signs at least three days before crews installed each station.

In Brooklyn, some Fort Greene and Clinton Hill residents despise the fact that the racks -- which have a logo for its sponsor Citigroup and a pole that serves as a solar panel -- stick out like a sore thumb in their historic districts. Angry Brooklynites posted fliers saying the company's logo shouldn't be splattered on landmarked blocks.

City Councilwoman Letitia James, a supporter of the program, met last week with constituents and said the DOT needed to be clearer about the exact details of Citi Bike installations.

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