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Transportation & Environment

Proposed Siting of Bike Share Stations

WHEREAS, Community Board Five thanks the Department of Transportation (DOT) for the extensive outreach it did in preparation for the launch of the bike share program. The installation will start in July/August in Lower Manhattan and gradually move north and take a few weeks to create the entire network; and

WHEREAS, The plan calls for installation of one bike share station in a geographic area roughly the size of one avenue wide and 4 blocks long to provide for a functional network for convenient pick up and drop off.  In CB5, where sidewalk space is incredibly precious, a majority of the stations are located on the street, using DOT plazas, or no standing zones, and in some cases loading/parking spaces; and

WHEREAS, Most stations will start each day with bicycles in half the spots and an equal number of spots left vacant for bicycle drop-offs.  Each station will include a kiosk that explains the program, includes safety tips, credit card/cash payment slots, and has a map. The city has created a downloadable app that will include bicycle share locations and up-to-the minute space availability; and

WHEREAS, Stations are self-contained and self-sustaining, requiring no construction work to install or electricity to operate as they are solar-powered; and

WHEREAS, No taxpayer funds will be used to establish or support the Bike Share program; all funds will be provided through sponsorship.  Any proceeds from this program will be divided between the operator - Alta - and the City; and 

WHEREAS, All kiosks are credit/debit based; no cash will be used.  Stations will be unstaffed and open for use 24/7; and

WHEREAS, No helmets will be provided, as helmets are only required by law for children.  DOT is exploring the possibility of coordinating with bike shops to provide discounts on accessories for participants of the Bike Share program; and

WHEREAS, The stations are easily moveable and can be picked up and relocated easily if any particular issues arise with a proposed station; and

WHEREAS, The bike share system is funded through a partnership with Citibank and will be called Citi Bike.  This program will be the largest bike share system in North America, with approximately 600 stations and 10,000 bikes; and

WHEREAS, People can use the bikes by becoming long or short term members.  Annual members enroll online and receive a touch pass for unlocking bikes. For one- or seven-day memberships, users can sign up at any station kiosk with a credit card. The bikes can be returned to any station in the system, creating a network with many possible points and combinations of departure and arrival. With membership, users can take an unlimited number of trips. For annual members, the first 45 minutes of every trip comes at no additional charge. Short term (24 hr. & 7 day) members get the first 30 minutes of every trip at no extra charge; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five has held numerous meetings with Bike Share representatives, including Bike Share presentations and co-sponsored a well‐attended Bike Share community workshop in which participants indicated their preferences for Bike Share locations; and

WHEREAS, DOT received tens of thousands of ideas on their online suggestion map and many more in community workshops throughout the service area; and

WHEREAS, DOT Bike Share representatives have been responding to and studying the input from this outreach, eliminating stations in some locations and adding others based on this, and now have presented the results of their outreach in the CB5 district, with draft recommendations for the initial implementation of docking station locations; and

WHEREAS, Draft maps of recommended Bike Share docking stations in the CB5 District are available here:   http://a841‐tfpweb.nyc.gov/bikeshare/2012/05/11/draft-citi-bike-station-map/; and

WHEREAS, The technical criteria for the following are:

Bike Station Sites:

Sidewalk Sites:

                        -Within 5' of the crosswalk

                        -Within 10' of driveways

                        -Within 15' of fire hydrants

                        -Within 15' of the mouths of subway stairs, elevators, or bus stops

                        -Within 5' of cellar doors, building entrances

                        -Sidewalk sites may not be proposed directly in front of the main entrance to major buildings.

On Street Sites: 

Private Property:  Stations are allowed on private property at the property owner's discretion.  Stations on private property should have 24-hour, unrestricted public access; and

WHEREAS, There were a number of attendees at the Transportation & Environment committee meeting praising the program's goals and outreach efforts but nonetheless a number of concerns were raised about specific locations; and

WHEREAS, CB5 based upon the feedback it received and the site visits by members of the bike share taskforce is concerned about the following stations:

1)      F13.6 - Penn Station - West 31st & 7th Avenue.  This station is one of the most congested areas of NYC, adding more activity could present significant safety concerns and make a street and intersection that is very difficult to navigate even more difficult.  The Board urges DOT to continue to explore alternate locations within the many privately owned public spaces in the area or on-street on one of the side streets.

2)      H8.7 - Madison Avenue & East 53rd Street.  This large station (59 docks) is proposed on a very congested sidewalk with a row of street trees.  The Board urges DOT to find a more appropriate nearby on-street location.

3)      H9.2 - East 49th Street & Madison Avenue.  This station is in front of a retailer - the American Girl store - which often has very long lines and an entrance/loading area on East 49th Street.  The Board urges DOT to move this station further to the east on East 49th Street to avoid this conflict.

4)      H9.6 - East 47th Street & Madison Avenue.  The concerns raised by the Grand Central Partnership were confirmed by the Board during a site visit; this sidewalk location has sidewalk vaults and is a very congested street. The Board urges DOT to find a more appropriate nearby on-street location on East 47th Street. 

5)      I11.8 - Park Avenue between East 41st and East 42nd Streets.  This proposed 118 dock station - the largest in CB5 - takes up the space of the existing airport bus shuttles and therefore a proposed bike share station here is contingent on finding a more appropriate location for these shuttles.  No such location has yet been presented to CB5. 

6)      H11.2 - West 40th Street between 5th & 6th Avenues.  The Bryant Park BID raised concerns about this particular location because of the activity and loading/unloading on this block. The Board urges DOT to find a more appropriate nearby on-street location.

7)      H7.8 - West 56th Street between 5th & 6th Avenues.  The location if shifted further to the west would address the concerns raised by the retailer with respect to retail visibility and sidewalk congestion. 

8)      E11.2 - South sidewalk of West 41 St. near 8th Avenue; narrow street and sidewalk has high peak time usage as it leads to/from Port Authority bus terminal.  The Board urges DOT to explore the usage of private plazas on 7th Avenue and Broadway between West 40th and West 39th in addition to other nearby on-street locations as needed.

9)      The Flatiron BID and the Fashion Center BID, although supportive of the proposed bike share program, raised concerns about the size of the stations and their impact on the public spaces that have been created along Broadway in their service area.  CB5 urges DOT to examine reducing the size of these stations in conjunction with an examination of other nearby on street locations to ensure that these public plazas continue to be useful open spaces. 

10)  FIT has expressed concerns about the proposed location on West 27th Street between 7th & 8th Avenues.  Although the Board believes that colleges and universities are very appropriate locations for bike share stations and that bike share would be very well used by the approximately 10,000 FIT students, more discussion is needed between the Board, DOT, and FIT to address questions and concerns about this location.  

WHEREAS, The Bike Share representatives indicated their openness to continuing to refine station locations right up to the program's launch in Summer 2012 and to responding to the suggested location changes, also pointing out that the stations are not attached to the ground (but held down by heavy steel plates), so they can be easily moved around; therefore be it:

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends conditional approval of the Bike Share program station site selection with the following conditions:

1.      DOT help assemble a working group to be compromised of members of CB5, other city agencies, business improvement districts among others groups to investigate how our sidewalks and streets can be rationalized with respect to street furniture.  Of particular concern for our Board is the inappropriate review process for newsstand applications but this working group needs to also carefully investigate the removal of other kinds of street furniture and barriers to pedestrian safety and movement as bike share stations begin to take up more space;

2.      DOT will return no later than November, 2012 to report back on the progress of the bike share program in CB5 and provide the Board an opportunity to make recommendations on any stations which have raised concerns;

3.      DOT will coordinate bike share station locations with any new intra-city bus station stops to ensure that pedestrian safety and movement is ensured;

4.      DOT will continue to work with CB5 and other concerned groups about the specific station locations noted above;

5.      DOT will continue to work with NYPD to improve enforcement of traffic safety laws with respect to cyclists.

The above resolution passed with a vote of 40 in favor, 1 opposed, 2 abstaining.

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