Board 5 bike battles heating up in summer 1

This new Citi Bike dock on Myrtle Avenue in Glendale didn’t rise any hackles with Community Board 5 on May 10, but the same could not be said of some of its counterparts in Middle Village.

New Citi Bike stations received decidedly mixed reviews at the monthly meeting of Community Board 5 on May 10.

Citi Bike has expanded its reach into District 5 in recent months, with more than 40 new docks either put in place or on their way.

Dorothy Werkmeister of Middle Village said a new rack of 26 bikes by the intersection of Metropolitan Avenue and 65th Lane already is causing problems.

“I am very, very concerned about the safety, not just of the people riding the bikes, but the pedestrians, the elderly on the block and also the children who are playing on the block,” Werkmeister said.

She also expressed interest in learning the criteria Citi Bike used to chose the location, saying there is another one with less than a tenth of a mile away.

“I’d like to know where is the traffic study that said this is a good location.” Werkmeister added.

Walter Sanchez, first vice chairman of Board 5, was sympathetic.

“We were not as involved as I wish we were on the location of the Citi Bikes,” Sanchez said. “The [city Department of Transportation] kind of came in and took over.”

Eric Butkiewicz, chairman of CB 5’s Transportation Services Committee, said residents are not entirely powerless.

“We have been discussing specific locations at our committee meetings,” Butkiewicz said. “The thing is, although the DOT did take feedback from us and moved a couple of stations, there are still a lot in bad spots.” He said the one raised by Werkmeister would be on the agenda of the next committee meeting, and welcomed her and anyone else with similar complaints to attend.

Frances Perez, also of Middle Village, soon offered Werkmeister some backup regarding a new docking station put on 65th Place on April 7.

“Not one notice,” Perez said. “Not one email. No notice to the residents on the block.” Perez said there are 144 families in 72 homes on the street, and that no one among her neighbors appears to use the bikes.

“It is an unreasonable burden on those families,” she said.

Craig Caruana, representing Councilman Bob Holden (D-Maspeth) at the meeting, said the site selection process was not nearly as complicated as residents believe, explaining that a grid literally was laid over a map of the district to assure the desired spacing.

“The community board was definitely left out of this,” Caruana said.

But he also said that residents must continue to attend community board meetings, contact the Queens office of the DOT when they have issues, and always respond when the agency is conducting surveys on potential projects in their neighborhoods.

“The bike people, those who want to take away parking spaces, are very well-organized,” he said.