Letters, Week of May 15, 2013

Park it, at 20th St.

To The Editor:
Re “Multiple Visions for a Vacant Lot” (news, May 1):

There is no need to choose between Affordable Housing and this desperately needed park. The community has provided our elected officials with a list of 30 derelict properties in Chelsea. Each of these buildings could become prime residential real estate, but are instead allowed to deteriorate. Our elected officials may be poised to build on the last green space in Chelsea — rather than take the green route of maximizing usage of available housing stock. Some politically connected contractor stands to benefit and, as usual, Chelsea stands to lose!
Kathryn Nocerino

Happy to give up parking space for Citi Bike

To The Editor:
I’ve seen the new bike stations on the 400 block of West 22nd Street and expect that Community Board 4 and our electeds are about to get a lot of complaints from folks who are upset at losing their free parking spots on the street.

As somebody who owns a car, and sometimes does the alternate side street parking dance, I do want to let you all know how happy I am to see the new stations on my block — even if it means that free parking might become harder. Really, it’s only five car spaces on our block, not such a big deal. People write things like “97 bike docks on 22nd Street between Eighth Avenue and 11th Avenue” to make it seem bigger than it really is, omitting the fact that five to seven bikes will replace each car. So, you are talking about maybe 20 spaces on four long blocks, probably less than 10 percent of the available parking spaces (for which they pay not one penny).

I’ve waited for years (literally, now) for bike share to come to NYC, and I want to let you know that many folks like me, who might own cars, will fight hard to keep this wonderful new addition to our city from being rolled back by the privileged elites who can’t stand to lose any of their perks, and will come up with the most ridiculous excuses about how bike share doesn’t belong in a historical district.

I signed up for Citi Bike the first day possible, because I don’t take my own bike out with me every time I leave the house. Sometimes it’s not convenient, especially for longer distances where I might prefer to take the subway (or perhaps it is raining). With Citi Bike, I’ll be able to travel by bike whenever I want to, whether I already have my bike with me or not, because there will be dozens of bikes waiting for me less than a block away. And if I am using a Citi Bike, I won’t have to worry about locking my bike or having (parts of it) stolen.

I’ll still have my own bikes, or course, for daytrips and excursions where riding the bike is the purpose — but with Citi Bike, I’ll have an entirely new transportation option available to me that is as close as the nearest cab and cheaper than taking the subway.
Alex Dupuy

L.A. escapee now cycles

To The Editor:
I love this bike plan. I lived in L.A. for 20 years, where cars and multi-lane freeways rule mercilessly over everything. It is also where the widening of the 405 (San Diego) Freeway has resulted in even worse traffic nightmares, including it taking an hour (once 10 minutes) to drive from the West Side to the Valley. I moved here to get away from all that, and traded in my maroon Ford Mustang convertible with baby leather seats for a $300 bike. I could not be happier or healthier.

The central problem is that cars are inefficient city transport. They also pollute and envelope people in a metal bubble, cutting off interaction. Want to see an isolated person? Look for someone stuck in traffic, alone in his car. Bikes are much more efficient, and this program will encourage more bicycling. Also, it will make neighborhoods far off the grid — like the far Lower East Side — much more accessible.

Let us not lose the larger picture — greater transport efficiency, more interpersonal interaction, less pollution and better exercise while commuting — while arguing over details. The kiosks can be re-sited, if need be. The concept, though, is wonderful.
Joseph Hanania

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