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Contentious Community Board Meeting Held Over City's Bike Share Plan

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Two sides of the battle over the city's bike share program squared off Thursday at a contentious community board meeting in the West Village. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.

The battle over the city's new bike share program is reaching a boiling point.

At a Community Board 2 meeting, residents sounded off. Many of them voiced their displeasure not with the program, but with the location of the bike racks themselves.

"If the Department of Transportation did research, they did not ask anyone in my building about it," said one person at the hearing.

Deborah Stone has one in front of her building. She said it's a dangerous situation.

"There's no way for a fire truck to pull up in front of the building," she said. "There's no way for an ambulance to pull up in front of the building. Access-a-Ride can't get in front of the building, so those people can't get to their ride. You can't get a cab in front of the building. It is a danger."

The city Department of Transportation said it reached out multiple times to the community board. The board's chairman, David Gruber, said that's true, but no one expected the racks to be this intrusive.

"People are overwhelmed by it, and no amount of outreach could really have explained what they put up," Gruber said.

The New York City Department of Transportation did not send a representative to this meeting, but there were plenty of supporters there, people who said the city has done enough outreach, and the time has come to get the bike share program started.

"There were hundreds of meetings where DOT did outreach to the community," one supporter said. "The community boards were totally involved in this. There's all kinds of opportunity for input, and they made a lot of compromises."

"The more bikes there are, the more people that use bikes, The more people that are on the streets outside of their cars," another supporter said. "It's healthier. It's safer. It calms traffic down."

The majority at the meeting, however, seemed to disagree.

"It is such a brainless, clueless implementation," said one.

The city said the program is good for these communities. The fight continues.

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