"New York Street Vendors Displaced by Bike-Share Want Their Voices Heard
Sarah Goodyear. May 22, 2013
As the racks for the Citibike bike-share program have been installed around New York in recent weeks, New Yorkers have become aware of their public spaces in a whole new way. Suddenly, people are feeling proprietary about the sidewalks they usually walk over without thinking.
Many of the complaints about the new racks do look like classic NIMBYism. In Fort Greene, some people are disgruntled about the aesthetic impact on landmarked blocks (although they’re apparently unconcerned about the way all the big fat cars look on those same blocks). In Manhattan, some co-op residents say they simply don’t want racks so close to their building entrance.
But there’s one rack that is causing a different kind of problem, and revealing some deeper cracks on the contested sidewalks of New York. On Liberty Street in Lower Manhattan, outside an office building at 140 Broadway, five food carts employing fifteen people have been displaced by a rack installed on the sidewalk there. (In 2011, with the help of customer petitions, vendors on the site successfully fought an attempt by the management of the building at 140 Broadway to get them to leave.)
The Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center, an advocacy group that claims nearly 2,000 of the city’s 20,000 mobile vendors as members, says that while five carts might not seem like a lot, the move raises questions about who has the right to use the streets of the city.”
Photo: Street Vendor Project
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