An interesting quality-of-life matter in the Village concerns the enormous amount of abandoned bicycles all over the City—and particularly the Village.
One does not need to walk far to witness the unsightly empty shell of a bicycle where most accoutrements have been stripped. Often only the frame remains—no chain, no pedals, no seat, no handle bar, and no wheels.
I think it makes our neighborhood look unkempt and dirty, which is why I keep filing reports to the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY). They often remove them, but as with many of de Blasio’s heavily-unionized departments, it usually takes them a while.
One DSNY worker informed me that this problem is, in part, due to the successful introduction of Citi Bike. People can now rent a bicycle when needed and no longer want one taking up precious space in a tiny Manhattan apartment. So, they simply chain the bicycle some place and leave it there. Perhaps Citi Bike could contribute to the clean-up costs? Another unsavory cause of these bike abandonments is pure apathy by way of theft—a bike can become stripped overnight, leaving the owner to jettison the leftover frame.
In fact, there was a story on this topic on WCBS-TV about two years ago. Someone on the Upper West Side moved out of town and did not know what to do with his bicycle, so he simply left it chained to a ‘No Parking’ sign on West 81st Street. Two years later, he came back for a visit and found the skeletal remains of his old bike still chained there. WCBS-TV tracked him down in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and he readily admitted what happened.
The DSNY will not remove an abandoned bike if it is deemed “operable.” But residents are of course encouraged to keep reporting them. This is an issue that cries out for action by the de Blasio administration and the City Council.