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SoHo Residents To City: We Don’t Want Bike Sharing Docks Here

Group Calls For Removal Of Bike Racks In Petrosino Square
A Citi Bike rack in Manhattan - May 2, 2013 (credit: Paul Murnane / WCBS 880)

A Citi Bike rack in Manhattan – May 2, 2013 (credit: Paul Murnane / WCBS 880)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The city’s bike sharing program is set to roll out Monday, and the stations are all in place with bicycles at the ready.

But as 1010 WINS Steve Sandberg reported, for some people, the new Citi Bike racks are about as welcome as cockroaches in the kitchen cabinet. Such sentiment is particularly evident at one park in SoHo.

LINK: Citi Bike (Official Website)

Rich in art and culture with its galleries and studios, SoHo is a living, breathing tapestry. One woman told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg she loves spending time in Lt. Joseph Petrosino Square, at Lafayette and Kenmare streets.

“In the summertime, people come; they’ll draw. People come around. They’ll have their lunch,” she said. “And now you can’t do that, just because it’s so congested with all these bikes.”

The city dropped two of the large, gray, metal bike racks right in the northern tip of the triangular square. Sean Sweeney of the SoHo alliance wants them removed.

“The people of New York will have to view this ugly Citibank advertising in a place formerly reserved, and preserved, for art,” Sweeney said.

Many want the bikes and the art – just not in the same place.

Complaints about the bike docking stations have been percolating for a while now.

Some vocal opponents have blasted the city’s decision to install bike stations on landmark blocks, while others have griped about the loss of parking spots.

Some street vendors also oppose the program, arguing the bike docking stations have overtaken some of their turf.

Drivers have claimed their cars were improperly towed because of construction of the bike docks and earlier this week some Greenwich Village residents were victims of a ticket blitz after new bike stands were installed.

A handful of lawsuits have already been filed against the bike share program, as well.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on WOR Radio on Friday that anti-bike criticism “makes good theater.”

More than 9,000 people who have signed up for the program will be able to ride starting Monday. The bikes will be available to anyone starting June 2.

An annual membership costs $95 and a day pass will cost $9.95.

The program will launch with 6,000 specially designed bikes at 330 stations and Bloomberg said the program will be expanded if it succeeds.

The bike-share program could eventually grow to 10,000 bikes and 600 docking stations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

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