The city’s Department of Transportation says Citi Bike is “pedaling past ridership records,” racking up more than 250,000 total trips in its first three weeks. Local elected officials and Community Board 3 report relatively few complaints in the early going, but one station in Chinatown is causing concern. Several store owners have voiced their disapproval of the station on Elizabeth Street, between Hester and Canal.
Lillian Leung, owner of Pacific Seafood Trading Inc., located directly in front of the bike docks, has made her disapproval quite clear, blaming the station, in an already congested area, for a decrease in business.
“Our customers who drive need to park here so it’s more convenient for them,” Leung said. “Now when our customers find out that there is nowhere to park, they won’t come here because it’s not convenient. That is our loss.” According to Leung, the bikes have taken a toll not only on her business, but on the health and safety of the community as well.
“The sign used to say what times there is parking and when they clean the streets,” she said. “Every day at 8, they come by and sweep the street clean. Now you go outside and look and see if it’s still possible to clean the streets. The bike station along with the pedestrian sidewalk is filled with garbage.” Leung, as well as several other business owners along Elizabeth Street have complained to city officials.
The Chinatown station was installed last month but has only been operational for a few days. The bikes were not in service until the past week—almost a month after Citi Bike’s launch.
The photo posted above was sent to the Department of Transportation by City Council member Margaret Chin’s office. it is meant to illustrate the close proximity of the bikes to oncoming traffic and to show that this particular station’s placement is potentially dangerous and inconvenient for both bikers and drivers. Chin, who is generally supportive of the bike share program, is awaiting a response from the DOT regarding the situation on Elizabeth Street.
City officials note that they conducted a dozen meetings downtown to engage the local community regarding bike share locations. Next month, DOT will be present at local community board meetings to hear feedback from residents about specific locations. The Elizabeth Street station is located within Community Board 2.