The Post triumphantly reported yesterday that, following a lawsuit from the Cambridge House co-op board, several of the offending kiosks were sucked back into the abyss from which they came. Was it because the Post falsely claimed an ailing 92-year-old man nearly died after rescue workers became tangled in the stations? Was it because the racks are, by design, easily removable and the DOT would rather really rather not bicker about it?
Either way, a portion of the 39-kiosk rack was removed on Tuesday night, said Dave Marcus, vice president of the Cambridge co-op board. And while residents are certainly happy about the newly formed gap in the racks, they shall not rest until its been removed in its entirety.
"It's like the Berlin Wall—you can't get through. It’s a lot different than having a car parked," he said, adding that cars at least have gaps for pedestrians through which maneuver.
Though the Post is congratulating itself for its victory over
Satan Citi Bike, Marcus said the co-op was initially notified of the rack's potential removal by the DOT two weeks ago. The DOT has refused to answer any inquiries as to why the racks were removed, probably because they're too busy running around taking out any bike racks the NY Post finds objectionable, and bringing Col Allen coffee. Update: The DOT sent us this statement this afternoon: "We started notifying representatives of the building on April 30 of our intention to remove two plates in front of the building, as we’ve done at other locations, and we personally notified both the building manager and co-op president on May 6."
Meanwhile, the stands, Marcus went on, continue to block the building's service entrance, making it difficult for sanitation workers to collect trash three times a week. Filth is beginning to accumulate in the space between the stands and the curb, with trapped water growing more fetid each day.
"It looks like you can breed West Nile Virus in there," he said.
The lawsuit states that DOT classified the Citi Bike stands as "street furniture," and as such, violated several of its own regulations, including that street furniture "shall not be installed within 15 feet of any "Subway Entrance or Exit Stairs," 8 feet of any "Bicycle Rack," 3 feet of any "Canopy," or 3 feet of the "Edge" of any "Tree Pit." The Bike Share Station violates each of these "minimum clearances," the complaint reads.
The Cambridge also lobbied the DOT years ago to ban parking along the north side of the street from Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., on the basis that traffic was too severely backed up. Installing the bike rack, Marcus said, undoes all of the effort put in to having the parking restrictions implemented in the first place.
"If you think about bikes being green, it flies in the face of that when you have a string of cars honking their horns and polluting the air," he said of the congestion on the narrow street. He ponders what the DOT could have been thinking.
"Is it coincidence? Or was it part of their original plan?" Marcus wondered. "They're not trustworthy. They misrepresented the whole thing. They lied."