Nov. 14, 2018 By Laura Hanrahan
Citi Bike is gearing up to expand their service in North Brooklyn in preparation for the impending L train shutdown.
The bike-share company will be installing 200 new bike docks in the area mainly by expanding capacity at existing docks in places identified as having a network gap.
Representatives from the Department of Transportation presented their plans at a Community Board 1 meeting Tuesday evening, where they were also met with questions over dock locations and all-too-familiar concerns over loss of parking spots.
There are currently 62 Citi Bike stations within Community Board 1, which covers Greenpoint and Williamsburg, with the number of docks in each ranging from 9 to roughly 30.
Of these stations, 21 are set to be enlarged in some capacity to boost the number of total docks up to 200.
The biggest changes are coming to the Nassau Av./Russel St. station at McGolrick Park—set to see 30 new docks—and the Division Av./Hooper St. station near the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge, which will see an additional 34 docks.
Seven other stations in Greenpoint will see add-ons ranging from three to 16 new docks.
South of McCarren Park, 12 other stations will see increases in capacity ranging from 1 to 17 new docks.
A temporary dock, meanwhile, will also be installed near the Morgan Avenue L train station in East Williamsburg.
The stations set to see the increases are a mixture of roadbed, sidewalk, and median/plaza installations.
While concerns began to pour in from board members about parking loss during the presentation, the changes, according to the agency, will only result in a total of seven spots lost in North Brooklyn.
Board members, however, continued to raise issue with the changes, noting the lack of impact their recommendations have had in the past.
They recalled, for instance, opposing Citi Bike stations on residential side streets because of the parking spaces it would take up, but having their concerns ignored by DOT.
“We did give you feedback as to the locations and what we felt was feasible, you guys just went ahead and did whatever you wanted,” said Board Member Lisa Bamonte. “You didn’t even take our suggestions into consideration.”
DOT representatives said in response that the plan is still in a draft phase, and will be put online for the public to review and provide recommendations.
In addition to the new docks, a valet service will be added to four Citibike locations in north Brooklyn—North 6th St. and Bedford Av., North 7th St. and Kent Av., South 5th Pl. and South 4th St., and Bushwick Av. and Powers St.
These stations will be manned by a Citi Bike employee during rush hours, who will stack the bikes in a corral, allowing four to six times as many bike to be dropped off at the designated valet-serviced docks.
The presentation follows a DOT announcement made over the summer of 2,500 additional docks set to be installed between Brooklyn and Manhattan as part of L train shutdown mitigation efforts.
The city anticipates cycling over the Williamsburg Bridge to double during the shutdown, which currently sees more than 7,500 cyclists and 4,000 pedestrians daily.
The DOT will be adding 1,000 electric pedal assist bikes to their fleet, some of which will be available in Brooklyn at the North 6th St./Bedford Av. and Bushwick Av./Powers St locations.
As far as the possibility of expanding into Bushwick, which does not have Citi Bike service, the DOT said it will hold a meeting with the community board there next month to discuss expansion efforts.
The agency will begin making the changes this winter and work through early next year to ensure the extra bikes are ready for commuters by the L train shutdown on April 27.