Update: Jan. 22, 5 p.m.: The Transportation Committee of Community Board 8 will be discussing the bike corral tonight, Tuesday, January 22 at 7pm at CNR-Center Light Healthcare Center (727 Classon Avenue, between Park Place and Prospect Place).
Update: Jan. 16, 10:38 a.m.: A petition has been started in support of the bike corral and is available at Little Zelda, 728 Franklin Ave. bet. Park and Sterling. Organizers say signing in person is best, but for those who can't get over there, they can sign an online petition. Questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just five weeks after innovative on-street bike racks were installed on Franklin Avenue, two area residents have launched a petition campaign has been launched to get it removed.
The DOT installed the “bike corral” in front of Little Zelda on Franklin Avenue between Park and Sterling places in late November. The corral replaces one parking space with eight bike spaces and two large planters.
The city’s bike-friendly Department of Transportation has installed at least nine bike corrals since 2011 including four in Brooklyn. Franklin Avenue’s corral could have the distinction of becoming the first to be removed.
Constance Nugent-Miller, whose family has lived in the neighborhood for two generations, started the petition with Karen Granville, who lives a few doors down from Little Zelda. Currently the petition has “about 224” signatures, Nugent-Miller said.
Nugent-Miller says the racks can be moved to the sidewalk and that the spot is needed for cars—especially since the B48 has returned after a two-year hiatus last week, eating up several more spots on the congested strip.
Nugent-Miller, whose family has lived in the neighborhood for two generations, said the dispute over the bike corral is about more than just a parking space.
“This is way beyond just a bike rack,” she said in an e-mail. “There are so many more subterranean issues at play here.”
Nugent-Miller, who lives on St. John's place between Franklin and Bedford and owns a second building on Bedford near Park Place, said the corral has “divided Franklin Avenue merchants” and “awakened longtime residents” who feel the racks were imposed upon by the area’s newer merchants and residents.
“I live in that community no one ever spoke to me,” Granville said at a Community Board 8 meeting last week.
“A lot of the residents feel that gentrification is more of a takeover than partnership,” Nugent-Miller agreed following the meeting.
But Kate Blumm, who opened Little Zelda with her husband last year, said the decision to install the corral came with unanimous support from the board’s Transportation Committee and overwhelming support by the full board.
Blumm, who with husband and Zelda co-owner Michael De Zayas, collected over 200 signatures in support during the application period, said the racks were approved by the Transporation Committee after a presentation by the DOT and much discussion and consideration of the issues, including the loss of the parking spot.
Blumm argues that the corral makes the street “neater” since there will be fewer bikes chained to lampposts, that the planters will make it greener, and that it offers eight times as many parking spots for potential customers as a single car parking place would.
She added that “it would have been expedient for the petition-filers to participate in that discussion instead of airing concerns after the corral was installed,” but Nugent-Miller and Granville say they would have been glad to, if only they had known about them in advance.
Those interested in signing the petition should e-mail Nugent-Miller at email@example.com.