Not everyone is equally thrilled with the new New York City biking program known as Citi Bike which just launched. Although in theory it seems that Citi Bike should have no enemies, considering that it is designed to reduce traffic congestion, ease air pollution, get people moving their bodies to help stay fit, and a lot more great benefits, there are a larger than expected number of unhappy campers.
In one apartment building in Brooklyn Heights residents are up in arms about the inconvenient placement of the bike rack which holds 21 Citi Bike bicycles. In order to show their displeasure residents decided to place their garbage and recycling waste on top of the bike rack, making a strong statement about the trouble the rack is causing them.
Anneke Berkem, a 69-year-old resident who has lived on the street for 17 years, said she has never been so inconvenienced like she is now.
“They have to place garbage at a tree about 30 feet from racks, and the recycling pile started about 15 feet from racks all the way mid through the rack” Berkem said. “We feel this is not the right spot. There are other places in the neighborhood. We have a very crowded neighborhood. We were never consulted. We didn’t find out about them until they were put in.”
Nina Hackler, a 29-year-old resident added,
“There just isn’t enough room. Something has to give – and this time, it’s the bikes.”
Brooklyn Heights is not the only neighborhood where Citi Bike has not made a good first impression. Complaints are rolling in about the poor choice of placement of the large and wieldy racks, including disruption of parking, making trash pick-ups difficult and even that they are just plain ugly.
There is also confusion about how the program itself works. On the second day of Citi Bike’s full launch there are still many users who cannot figure out how to use the system.
“I don’t understand this” said Rita Gassar, 43, while attempting to renew a bike session in Union Square. “Unlimited use for 30 minutes, but it’s a 24-hour pass. Why would I take it out for 30 minutes? What if I want it for longer? This doesn’t make any sense.”
“It’s annoying, it’s really annoying” said Ronica Mukerjee, 38, a nurse practitioner from the Lower East Side. Mukerjee called the Citi Bike hot line when the rack at Forsyth and Broome streets wouldn’t release any bicycles. “I bought a yearly membership, and now the two stations closest to my house are not working. It doesn’t give me hope that this will be a reasonable way to commute.”