A professional-car district supervisor is urging Citi Bike to take house away from pedestrians in Queens with a purpose to protect a couple of parking spots in Astoria, whilst group board members recommend they’re blissful to see the docks on the street.
Florence Koulouris, the district supervisor for Neighborhood Board 1 in Queens, tried to rally the board’s Transportation Committee in opposition to a plan to place 30 out of 51 Citi Bike docks on the street after a DOT presentation on bike share expansion into Astoria confirmed that almost all of the docks would go within the roadbed.
“My concern isn’t the quantity, the quantity is ok, my concern is the location on the street,” mentioned Koulouris, who technically works for the board and never the opposite means round. “We have to attempt to work tother as a crew to get extra out of the road and extra onto the sidewalks. Thirty on the road is rather a lot — too many on the road. The profit is to maintain them on the sidewalk as a result of it avoids the disaster after with 1,000,000 cellphone calls to the DOT and the district workplace.”
Full video which fairly obviously captures loads of what’s flawed @Cb1Queens & w/how we plan our streets.
Huge props to @helenshirley for her fearlessness in placing up w/this shit & coming into this hostile house as a WOC & transportation professional who’s recurrently sidelined & silenced pic.twitter.com/lZ0ycQ1vaX
— macartney (@macartney) October 21, 2020
The crew spirit to carry docks onto the sidewalk didn’t appear to be within the offing although, as no board members backed up Koulouris’s suggestion. The one direct touch upon Koulouris’s suggestion was a pushback from board member Helen Ho, who mentioned that placing extra docks on the sidewalk to protect parking can be “a disservice” to the neighborhood.
“We’re in pandemic instances and the results of the pandemic are going to be traumatizing to everybody within the metropolis for a very long time afterwards, and what we’d like extra of is extra sidewalk house so runners and pedestrians can house themselves out,” mentioned Ho. “And there’s not sufficient pedestrian house already, which is why the open streets plan needed to be created.”
Regardless that she wasn’t capable of whip up assist on the committee, there’s a worrying precedent within the district supervisor’s insistence. The primary time Citi Bike docks have been positioned in Astoria, Koulouris bragged to the Astoria Post that CB1 insisted that stations be sited on the sidewalk with a purpose to present parking areas. That selection harm the general effectiveness of Citi Bike in northwest Queens in keeping with biking advocate Macartney Morris.
“It actually set again the community in Astoria when it comes to site visitors calming of the streets,” mentioned Morris. “It created large conflicts between pedestrians and Citi Bike riders using on the sidewalk to the get to the stations, in a means we simply didn’t have to, and all as a result of DOT and Citi Bike have been conflict-averse and didn’t need to have these fights.”
Koulouris additionally didn’t produce any information on the assembly to again up her level past her insistence that she will get “a million cellphone calls” complaining about an incapability to seek out parking within the neighborhood, an insistence that Ho mentioned misrepresented the neighborhood.
“That was the primary time I heard of somebody complaining about Citi Bike stations being on the road,” mentioned Ho, a Queens native. “[Koulouris] is the principle level of contact for us and the DOT, and it does us a disservice if she’s misrepresenting us.”
The DOT didn’t say whether or not it had been inundated with parking-related cellphone calls popping out of Astoria, and wouldn’t say whether or not the district supervisor’s complaints have been sufficient to maneuver docks round to avoid wasting parking areas. However Morris mentioned he anxious it may very well be completed if for no different cause than the squeaky wheel will get the grease.
“The DOT offers with Florence regularly, and whereas I don’t suppose they’ll revamp your complete plan, I might undoubtedly see them shifting 5 stations from the roadbed onto the sidewalk for no cause besides to make her blissful,” he mentioned.
The neighborhood’s precise elected illustration did push again on Koulouris’s insistence on taking house away from pedestrians with a purpose to make drivers blissful. Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer tweeted that Ho was correct to stay up for placing docks within the highway, and Zohran Mamdani, Astoria’s presumptive new Meeting Member, additionally gave a full-throated protection of placing docks on the street.
“We have to set up docks throughout the roadbeds not solely as a result of that’s the place we inform cyclists to journey, but in addition as a result of these docks serve to calm site visitors and create extra visibility at intersections and crosswalks,” mentioned Mamdani. “Moreover, in a time once we’ve taken away a lot of our streets from public use with a purpose to increase out of doors eating, we can’t put parking areas above the wants of pedestrians by taking away much more of their house from them.”
It’s not the primary tie Koulouris flexed her muscle because the longtime district supervisor. Earlier this year, she labored behind the scenes to get in style bike-supporter CB1 Govt Board member Nancy Silverman booted from the board. Silverman had clashed with Koulouris over her less-than-transparent operation of the board. In response to the Queens Eagle and one Streetsblog supply, Silverman and different board members had sought to rein in Koulouris in order that she would perform the mission of a district supervisor as described within the Metropolis Constitution and the CB1 bylaws.
The position of district supervisor required extra oversight from the board, Silverman mentioned, in keeping with the Eagle.