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Street Vendors Protest Citi Bike Racks In Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Some street vendors say the city's new bike sharing program has given their livelihoods the boot.

Nearly a dozen lower Broadway street vendors say they showed up to work on Monday only to find their corner at Liberty Street taken up by dozens of bike share racks.

They showed up to protest on Thursday.

From the West Village to Battery Park City to Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Bike share stations are appearing, and some find them appalling.

"I'm very unhappy about this!" one woman told CBS 2's Tony Aiello.

Street Vendors Protest Citi Bike Racks In Lower Manhattan

"This was just a really anxiety-producing moment, to realize you won't have your space to vend that you've been working in for many years," Stephanie Barretta of the Street Vendor Project told WCBS 880 reporter Marla Diamond.

They said they don't mind the Citi Bike program. They just don't want it on the busy street corner where they make a living.

Citi Bike Share Street Vendor Protest
Street vendors protesting the installation of bike share racks at Liberty Street and Broadway - April 25, 2013 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

Fruit vendor Kabir Ahmed said there are plenty of other places to put the racks.

"Please help us to give us back to our space [so] we can take care [of] our family," he said.

Clearly, there are some kinks to be worked out. On Cliff Street in the financial district, the bike docking station has been placed in the very spot where a residential building sets out all its recycling, CBS 2's Aiello reported.

Some of the vendors said that nearby Zuccotti Park would have been a perfect place for the bikes.

Barretta said they are helping vendors relocate, but it's tough.

"Many vendors are already crunched for space in the city. There are several streets throughout the city that are restricted for vendors to begin with," she said.

Some, like Sandra Garcia, who has worked the corner for years, said they don't want to move.

"I used to make barbecue for the attorney general - Spitzer. Now is another, thank God, they always hiring me because we provide good food. We provide good prices," she told Diamond.

"We... build up good business here," said Doris Yau, who has been selling pot stickers and noodles there for three years. "You know, Rome, you build up in one day. But they destroy in one minute."

Garcia said she wants the city to leave them alone and give them a break.

LINK: Citi Bike (Official Site)

Others have complained that the bike racks are eyesores in landmark neighborhoods while others have called them intrusive advertising.


In historic brownstone Brooklyn, several docking stations have been vandalized with stickers.

"Some of them should be moved! They're in the wrong freaking place!" Fort Green resident Perell Caterino told CBS 2's Aiello.

A meeting on Wednesday night got heated when one bike share supporter accused critics of "segregating" bicyclists.

"Whether it's segregation based on race, ethnicity, income class or, in this case, transportation mode, it's just not fair!" one person said.

City Council member Tish James pleaded for patience, saying the bike share program deserves a piece of the street.

"We have got to get along, and to share," James said.

With 600 docking stations being installed, there's a lot riding on bike share.

"I'm very skeptical of it, but it is possible it will work out and that would be the best outcome, that it did work," West Village resident Jim Hale said.

Next month. after all the docks are in place, 10,000 share bikes will hit the streets.

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