Thus far, the protests against Citi Bike have largely amounted to a war of words and symbolic acts of protest—with the possible exception of flyers pasted on the Fort Greene stations decrying corporate branding in a historic district, critics have kept their attacks verbal and refrained from physically defacing or destroying the racks or bikes.
That’s the way it should be—everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, and fortunately, today there are more than enough forums and platforms for people to express those opinions. And, assuming that we’re now moving out of the general whining about things you can’t change stage and into examining how the program is actually working stage, criticism is important. Provided that it is thoughtful and directed to actual, fixable issues, it can help officials to remedy glitches, introduce improvements and just generally make the program better and more palatable for everyone.
Not helpful or classy? Telling the world how much you hate bike share by dumping the garbage from your building all over the racks and bikes. Which is what residents at 150 Joralemon Street in Brooklyn Heights did this weekend, according to the New York Post.
First of all, the move is simply ineffective and redundant—the co-op is already suing and we doubt that the city will be moved to reward such a rude and immature act by pulling out the bikes and racks. But perhaps the most offensive thing is that the co-op is angry because the bike rack occupies the space where their super used to put the garbage out. Not lost parking spaces, not a beloved sidewalk vendor, not a community bike rack, but the spot where they put their trash. Now they have to put it out down the block. What a terrible inconvenience!
“They have to place garbage at a tree about 30 feet from racks, and the recycling pile started about 15 feet from racks all the way mid through the rack,” resident Anneke Berkem told The Post, adding that, “We feel this is not the right spot. There are other places in the neighborhood.”
She also told The Post that she had never been so inconvenienced in her 17 years of living in the neighborhood. Really?
Covering Citibikes in trash is a smug, sadistic act that benefits no one save residents who take pleasure from the discomfort and unhappiness of others—in this case sanitation workers and bike share users. Sanitation workers are, after all, the ones tasked with cleaning the garbage from the bikes. And if they fail to clean the bikes fast enough, program participants will be forced to sort through trash to get to the now-dirty bikes. Residents of the co-op are offended by having to look at a bike rack? Try having someone bury your means of transportation in trash out of spite.
Co-op resident Nina Hackler told The Post: “There just isn’t enough room. Something has to give—and this time, it’s the bikes.”
Anyone with that attitude doesn’t belong in New York City. Comprising, accommodating other people and things, handling disputes without resorting to throwing garbage at things you don’t like—those are essential requirements for being able to live in this or any other city. Anyone who can’t deal with the inconveniences of sharing space with 8 million other people in a civilized way should seriously consider leaving. Especially when those inconveniences are as miniscule as having your super drag the trash a little way down the block. We hope that 150 Joralemon will be slammed with the biggest ticket that the Department of Sanitation gives out. Maybe the next time they’ll consider displaying at least a modicum of the civility that other New Yorkers have. Comparing the DOT to the Taliban in a public forum, as one opponent did, could hardly be called taking the high road, but it looks like the height of classiness in comparison to this co-op’s actions.