D.O.T. backpedals, removes Renwick rack in Hudson Sq.

Photo by Lincoln Anderson The Citi Bike docking station on Renwick St. at Spring St. was removed Tuesday in response to residents’ complaints. All that was left were painted white lines and flexible bollards, which presumably will be removed sometime soon.

Photo by Lincoln Anderson
The Citi Bike docking station on Renwick St. at Spring St. was removed Tuesday in response to residents’ complaints. All that was left were painted white lines and flexible bollards, which presumably will be removed sometime soon.

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON  |  The squeaky wheel gets the — bike-share docking station removed.

Residents of 49 Renwick St. in Hudson Square were relieved Tuesday to see workers wielding hand trucks dismantling and removing the new bike-share station lining Renwick St. at Spring St. in front of their home.

Bike-share critic Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance, alerted The Villager of the development by forwarding an e-mail in which the building’s residents happily shared the news among each other. “Mad Men” actor John Slattery was cc’d.

Titus Leung, the president of the building’s co-op board, said they succeeded in getting the rack removed only because “we spoke out as a group.”

Leung said he received a message from the Department of Transportation “commissioner” — apparently referring to Margaret Forgione, the agency’s borough commissioner — confirming that the racks were permanently removed, and also that that they would not be re-sited anywhere in the area.

“I guess they decided that we really don’t need these many stations in our little neighborhood,” he said.

“I don’t want to get into specifics, but let’s just say the decision to reverse location of the racks on our street was probably easy,” Leung told The Villager. “It’s a very narrow, one-way street, and there are a number of construction projects just beginning at the south end of the street. So these racks likely would’ve created a significant safety issue, in addition to all the practical issues it would’ve created. Somehow, I believe, these facts were not known — or were ignored — when our location was first identified.”

That D.O.T. was willing to backpedal and remove the Renwick rack in response to residents’ concerns was encouraging, Leung said.

“From my point of view,” he said, “at the very least, this does show that D.O.T. is ultimately being rational in its deployment of these racks.”

Architect Stas Zakrzewski said the building’s courtyard sports a bike rack and that all the residents are avid cyclists, but that the bike-share station just had been sited in a bad spot, “on one of the most narrow streets possible.”

“I really think the bike program is awesome,” he said. “I just think that parts of it didn’t seem to be thought-out in terms of where it was going.”

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15 Responses to D.O.T. backpedals, removes Renwick rack in Hudson Sq.

  1. classic… complain about racks being put in but then compliment DOT when they remove yours. What about the rest of us

  2. Harry Pincus

    This morning, the Citibike racks which were removed from Renwick Street were re-sited in Soho Park, on Spring Street and 6th Avenue. This was in spite of Commissioner Forgione's statement that they "would not be re-sited anywhere in the area".

    In my New York, the sidewalk is for 8-year-olds on trikes, and not the heavy bicycle traffic which is being shoved down our throats by the Bloomberg administration. Who gave them the right to this wanton takeover of our streets? This disaster will not reduce vehicular traffic, and will in fact increase it. Those who have cars or commercial vehicles will not run out to rent a bike for twenty-five bucks, and it will hurt the income of the MTA, and poor taxicab drivers (I've still got my hack license!). Furthermore, the healthy inclination to walk will be greatly inhibited.

    Avenue of the Americas is used as a highway by every doofus imaginable, and woe unto anyone a little too old, or a little too slow of foot to jump out of the path of danger.
    The handicapped, those who are escorting a toddler, or an elderly parent can now enjoy the whoosh of inept city planning as it brushes brutally by.

    And oh, what fun the drunks will have when they get out of the bars and the clubs! I imagine that there will actually be a Death Toll to pay.

    "City share"? What else is left of my city TO share? The sky is being removed by the Hudson Square rezoning, and God's Love We Deliver's broken covenant, which will allow an enormous condo for those who can afford three million dollar apartments. Yes, Virginia, they'll be dancing on the rooftops over at God's Love We Deliver's new, garish aluminum box, because the rooftops are part of the air rights deal!

    Those poor saps who still own cars won't be able to park on the street….or Pier 40, once they build MORE CONDOS! Times Square will be reserved for fatasses in beach chairs and fuzzy adult sized animals who beg and spit on children.

    And now we can "share" or City sidewalk with thousands of bicycles! As I look out of my window and watch the bank which gave the world the Credit Default Swap taking over "SoHo Park", I sadly realize that it will no longer be possible to enjoy our greatest pleasure as New Yorkers…the ability to take a nice walk. Indeed, if the personal space required to walk on the sidewalk or see the sky is no longer respected, the very civil fabric of our City will be gone. We will be reduced to digital cavemen… Darwinian class competitors, hunkered in pricey little glass boxes with digital clubs and flat screens chanting …."MORE CONDOS! MORE CONDOS!!!".

    Fare the well, belle mondo! Can I offer you a Trump Condo?

    When I came here, what is now "SoHo" might rightfully have been called "SoWhat?". Soon we will have to call it "Oh No!".

    • You are so right! How will we all be able to enjoy walking around NYC when thousands of bikes will be coming at us from all directions (plus on the sidewalks)? The BikeShare militants are revelling at the prospect of 10,000 people participating in CitiBike. Meanwhile, I, and so many other ordinary New Yorkers, are dreading the gridlock and chaos that begins this coming Monday.

      How outrageous that a small group of Lance Armstrong- wannabes can get to dominate NYC! Elitists Bloomberg and Sadik-Kahn will leave a legacy of awfulness in their wake!

  3. We already have a set of racks on MacDougal and Prince, just up from these additional racks. We need our extremely limited park space for neighborhood R&R, not just for tourism.

    These racks should not have been placed there anyway, based on the promise made by Commissioner Forgione, as it it only one block away from Hudson Square. PLEASE place these bike racks in another location that does not innundate the tiny streets of this part of the city with drunken 2-wheeled weekend tourists and other non-local bike riders.

  4. Anyone else think this Citybike thing is going to be gigantic flop? I'm waiting for the first time some clueless tourist gets crushed by a garbage truck. Then it will quietly go away.

    • Jennie Baker

      Absolutely it will be a giant flop and a giant mess!

      New Yorkers will not allow their city to be taken over by hundreds of horrible bike-racks and thousands of additional cyclists.

  5. David Chester

    As a long time SoHo resident, I want to assure Commissioner Forgione that we do NOT need a bike share rack and the extra bicycle traffic it will bring. Even now, I have to look both ways twice before I cross the street. Once for cars and trucks and the second time, lest I become an involuntary crash dummy for the ever present bicyclist racing helter skelter, with or against traffic, without regard for lights, stop signs and, of course, pedestrians like me. I'm not sure they even know how to stop except when they encounter an immovable object, such as myself. I anticipate this perilous situation to be exacerbated exponentially with the "improvement" of bike racks that no resident of this city wants or needs. And I also fully expect to become collateral damage.

  6. This article is a sensationalized and misleading account of what happened. While there was unified opposition expressed by several residents on the street, that was not the reason for the removal. FDNY was opposed to this location as it created unique safety. FDNY opposition has resulted in removal of racks in other locations in the city as well. There were also other factors that made the Renwick location particularly inappropriate for the bike racks. This is very distinct from how the opposition from some other neighborhoods has been characterized as simply "not in my backyard". The bike share program has been approved and the racks do need to go somewhere — and to make it useful they do need to be installed in many locations. its just another balance of trade-offs that not every NYC resident will view the same.

  7. How does this action by the DOT square with David Gruber's contention that the DOT is not listening to the complaints of the community?

    • They placed them in a park after removing them from a spot the FDNY said wouldn't work. The community board had indicated that the bike stations were not to go into parks.

      Evidently, the DOT had not asked the FDNY if any of the locations would be an issue for the FDNY. Nor did they ask Sanitation.

      That's what happened.

  8. Bike-share NIMBYs: "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!"

    • Village Smithy

      Go Back to Brooklyn. You're no Villager. You fool no one.

    • Eric, read the excellent op-ed piece here in the Villager written by David Gruber and Corey Johnson and rather than knee-jerk, THINK. You are not helping your cause by calling people names. Most of us are not happy with transportation as it is in NYC. We just think the DOT listens more to the visitors than the residents. We know the best spots for these. We know the best size for these. And DOT implemented this badly in many locations.

    • Jennie Baker

      Eric, you are an idiot!

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