Source: Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, there are a lot of talk about how to help Sheepshead Bay bounce back economically. A key question to most is how to make the area more appealing to visitors; a getaway for city-dwellers, and an off-the-beaten-path destination for out of towners.

One of the more promising initiatives is the Capstone project we told you about a few weeks ago, which is working on a plan to strengthen our commercial corridors and bring tourists to the area. At a workshop earlier this month, attendees were told that no idea was too big, too outlandish to be considered, and that they should run wild with their dreams.

Well, one resident just wrote in to Sheepshead Bites with his own big idea: bring Citi Bike to Southern Brooklyn’s waterfront communities. The reader, Gary, writes:

Dear Ned,
As a new transplant to Sheepshead Bay (I lived in the neighborhood 20 years ago but that’s another story) I am thinking it would be super cool if the neighborhood had Citi-bikes.

There’s probably no other neighborhood better suited for the program –so much to see and, yet we are just far enough from Brighton and Coney Island and Kings Highway and Midwood to make it a pain to walk; but on a bike – a piece of cake. Get a Nathan’s hot dog, check out Plumb beach, get a guitar pick at Norm’s, see a Cyclones game – all under 10 minutes.

I wrote to Citi-bikes and quickly got a response (below) . I’ll follow their initial advice but figured maybe ‘Sheepshead Bites’ can publicize the idea.
Citi-Bikes – not just for hipster neighborhoods.

Thanks in advance, Gary.

 

Dear Gary,
Thank you for contacting NYC Bike Share, operator of Citi Bike.

Please be advised, NYC Department of Transportation and local community boards play a major role in deciding where bike share stations will be located. Any suggestions you have concerning Citi Bike’s station locations should be submitted to NYC DOT via the community outreach and siting form, which you can find on the DOT website. Or, you may call 311 with your comments.
In time we look forward to expanding bike share to neighborhoods across New York City.

Regards,
KeAndrea R
Customer Service Representative
NYC Bicycle Share, LLC

What do you think? Should Citi Bike become a cornerstone of a plan to turbocharge business and tourism in the area?

Update: Reader Lenny M. pipes in to remind me that he called for an Emmons Avenue bike lane back in 2011, arguing in part that it would help fuel commerce in the area.

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  • J.M.H.

    Or even guitar strings from Norms

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

      I don’t mind walking to Norm’s. Walking is good exercise too.

  • brianbeachh85

    i think it’s a great idea! i would love a bike share to take me to the beach & back when I’m in a rush to just jump in the ocean & go home, so i don’t have to walk or take my own bike. Also, I always walk to Ave U to go to stores, or Ave W to the dentist, but wouldn’t take my own bike. Also, tourists visiting Coney Island can take the bike for a nice dinner in Brighton or Sheepshead Bay, rather than the crap in Coney Is & then get on the subway & go back home.

  • brianbeachh85

    The city should really “brand” the 3 neighborhoods (Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay) better as a tourist destination. They brand Coney Is pretty well but leave the other 2 in the dust. Missed opportunity for sure.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

    For this to work there would have to be a number of docking stations in the area. We don’t need more sidewalk clutter.

    • brianbeach85

      We have a lot of sidewalk clutter currently? Maybe Brighton Beach Ave but that’s about all the clutter on the sidewalks in the area. If they can make it in dense Manhattan, it can be done here.

      • joe

        they made it in Manhattan by taking away a bunch of parking spots, which makes no sense being Manhattan is one of the worst places to find parking to begin with

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

        There have been a lot of complaints in Manhattan, and a few docking stations were removed..

  • Rob

    Doesn’t parking suck enough?

    • brianbeach85

      The bikes could potentially reduce cars on the street!

      • joe

        Not really because if you already own a car, your definitely not going to want to start biking anywhere

        • shbresident

          not true. my husband and I have two cars because we HAVE to drive everywhere. If I could rent a bike for a few hours here and there, I’d prefer that. esp on a nice sunny day

          • guest

            That’s much different and more rational then the cycling elite who think bike lanes and citibike will eliminate cars outright and make owners of cars like ourselves throw in our cars 24/7/365.

        • Mat50

          1)Because I have a car, I know all too well what driving and parking entails. It is so much easier, cheaper, faster and less stressful to use a bike in reasonable weather to run local errands.
          2)Given that the Ocean Parkway bike path has been around for ever, a CitiBike station connecting Prospect Park and Coney Island/Brighton/Sheepshead Bay, etc seems like a no brainer.

          • guest

            If this were Bloomberg time, they would take away large swaths of parking on Ocean Pkwy and a lane of traffic to set that up. This would obviously cause chaos beyond words.

          • Mat50

            I recall when the east mall of Ocean Parkway was a bridle path for horseback riding. Now it is paved and officially reserved for pedestrians. I am sorry to see the horses gone. Why are you concerned with a former mayor and what he might have done that might have inconvenienced you? The chaos we have now comes from arrogant incompetent presumptuous drivers who crash into other peoples’ cars, property, trees, and yes, live citizens with a perfect right to cross the street. Better to have more bicycles.

      • ArnietheK

        I’m sure that all of those motorists driving a Mercedes, BMW, or a Lexus are giving up their luxurious autos to peddle bikes.

      • guest

        No. They will not. People are not going to give up driving to ride a bike. They will cause more congestion for drivers. No Citi Bike unless there is a way to place them without removing parking and sidewalk space for pedestrians.

  • BrooklynBus

    Does anyone know how Citibike fared over the winter with all the snow we had? They were all out there exposed to the elements. Does anyone inspect them?

    • Subway Stinker

      I despise Citibikes but in Manhattan where I work, they are well maintatined and even had special dedicated snow removal workers to keep them operational. And there were plenty of schmucks riding around in sub freeing weather. But, the labor intensive costs of keeping the system up and running will eventually catch up to the program once Citibanks’ subsidy runs out. Unless Mayor de Blah cracks open the municipal piggy bank to keep this toy transportation system afloat.

      • BrooklynBus

        Thanks for the info. That raises an interesting question if our tax money should go to having dedicated snow removal workers to benefit such a small population when we don’t even bother to clear snow from most bus stops and bus shelters.

        A few years ago I attended a transportation hearing in the middle of the summer when the late arriving head of Transportation Alternatives comes in the room with hs bike, removes his helmet, then speaks in favor of biking all sweated up and dripping. He didn’t even bother to spend a few minutes in the men’s room to try and clean himself up a bit. Now he looked like a schmuck.

  • joe

    Please no. Bikes are for kids. Tell people to take the bus or drive. Bikes on the roads = disaster. Most of the time they don’t even follow traffic laws

    • 8asdj

      The irony here is that your disqus comment history is all WWF and wrestling and you’re trying to make the case that [i]bicycling[/i] is for kids.

    • Mat50

      Bikes are for everyone who wants to. Taking public transportation is so zigzag out of the way time wasting in this end of Brooklyn, it’s ridiculous sometimes. Cars are essential for heavy loads, bad weather and crippled old people going to the doctor, and distant destinations where you can find parking. What is your problem?

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

      Silly rabbit, TRIX is for kids.

  • J.M.H.

    Lisanne use to carry her guitar in a gunny sack

    And sit beneath the trees by the railroad track or on the way to Norms

    Read more: Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode Lyrics | MetroLyrics

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

      That has to be an old song, They’ve been chopping down a lot of the trees along the train embankments.

      • J.M.H.

        1958

  • Avi

    great idea

  • GG

    what’s cool about a program like citibikes is that it takes away 2 major headaches that come with owning a bike –
    - a need to carry a gigantic chain and lock
    - maintenance/flat tires, etc
    You pickup the bike and go and leave it and get another bike…awesome.
    As far as comments about the bikes taking valuable parking real estate – in this part of Brooklyn not every parking lot has yet been converted to a valuable condo. I’m sure Waldbaums and CVS and ALDI’s would gladly share part of their parking territory with the bikes. It would bring more customers.
    As a car owner I would welcome the opportunity to leave the car behind on weekends and instead bike through the neighborhood.
    PS or guitar lessons from Norm’s – this is becoming a Norm’s commercial

    • J.M.H.

      Sam Ash,, Guitar Center..evening the ball field Musikalessons.com

  • Mimi

    They do place the bike racks right in the street along the curb and they are about half block long, and they will be placed on several blocks in the neighborhood, eliminating a lot of parking spaces. They may even block entrances and where your garbage collection is picked up.

  • http://www.bidbrightonbeach.com Lena Pechenik

    And where would you ride a bike in Brighton Beach area? Sidewalk, two lanes street? Or maybe boardwalk, where riding a bike is prohibited all the time except until 10 a.am .And what about a place for the station?. Where? Ideas are always good and always a topic for conversation.

    • Mat50

      Riding a bike in the same places that one drives a car takes up less space, including parking for those who need a car. It makes less noise, less pollution and is less dangerous to pedestrians than speeding cars running lights in their impatient frustration and presumption of precedence. Riding on sidewalks usually occurs for brief stretches when an aggressive car driver forces no other option. Those cities and other NYC neighborhoods that previously opposed bikes, changed their tune with the business improvements to their bottom line. Just facts, not drama.

      • guest

        People are not going to give up their cars full time to ride a bicycle. Stop living in fantasyland.

        • GG

          no one is proposing 100% switch to bikes. I drive myself to work and my kids to school and will continue to do so. I WOULD take a bike to Stop and Shop to pick up a pint of much needed ice cream and I WOULD bike to Manhattan beach for a swim. I don’t do it currently because when I think of taking the car anywhere near Manhattan beach on a summer Saturday – a rerun of Full House starts to sound good.

  • bagels

    I think people overestimate Sheepshead Bay as being some kind of tourist wonderland. Really, what is there to see besides some fishing boats on Emmons Ave. What’s so touristy about ugly condos and Applebees? People go to Coney Island for the aquarium and the amusement parks and maybe a hot dog at Nathans. Tourists can get there very conveniently by train. Same thing for Brighton Beach. How can people patronize stores on a “strengthened commercial corridor” in Sheepshead Bay or the specialty food shops in Brighton Beach when they are on a rented bike. Where do they lock it up when they go shopping?

    • 8asdj

      I think you miss the point of citibike. Its less for tourists and more for short area commutes. As many people have mentioned they would gladly bike to do their shopping. The tourism benefits are secondary.

      • bagels

        I thought providing an incentive to get tourists out to sheepshead bay to revitalize the local economy was the primary reason for installing the bikes. We’ll have to agree to disagree on that point. Getting around on a rented bike may be beneficial for locals to do their shopping but you still have to deal with the problem of where to lock up the bike when you hop from store to store. You still need to carry around a lock unless there are sufficient docking stations scattered around the neighborhood. If you don’t have a lock you’d have to return the bike to the citi rack then go back to it and reswipe your credit card to use it again. That seems like more of hassle than just using your own bike for shopping or short area commutes.

        • brianbeach85

          Thats why there should be docking stations in key shopping areas! Not rocket science :)

          • bagels

            If you want to make Sheepshead BAy more bike friendly for locals then there should be more bike racks so if people want to take their bike everywhere they have something to lock it to.

  • https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sysut-Computers/158184584215916 Mike Sysut

    Add Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach so that one contiguous area could be serviced.

  • https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sysut-Computers/158184584215916 Mike Sysut

    To bike from “the City” on a nice day – eat it Sheepshead Bay and then take the D back – oh wait! they call it the B now over the Manhattan Bridge is a great way to spend a day!

  • Bedford

    Brighton Beach/Coney Island boardwalk is wide enough for a bike lane; works for Bay Ridge Promenade – a great place to bike. Put a bike stand on Ocean ave and Shore parkway(huge underutulized parking lot), put a bike stand on Coney Island and Brighton(half a block of no standing zone by Chase bank), put a bike stand on w 10 str by/along the Cyclone (plenty of space there) – if there’s a will, plenty of space could be found without taking away street parking.

    • BrooklynBus

      Actually when the boardwalk gets crowded in the summer, it is not practical to cycle on the boardwalk. But 98% of the time it doesn’t pose a problem, but still is not allowed.

      Why don’t you find out about they bike lane they have been promising along the sand for the past 15 years that has been tied up in bureaucratic red tape?

  • NoMoreBike

    Too many bad drivers around, who don’t observe the laws and are drive thru red lights, back up on one way streets and make illegal U turns and I am sure many more illegal things they do. It’s hard enough to cross the street safely these days. Cars have never RESPECTED BICYCLE riders and pedestrians. SO, I AM AGAINST this. Bicycle lanes don’t work, as most drivers pay no attention to them and often abruptly open their doors without looking. I have seen it and I have experienced when riding my bicycle.