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Published on May 8, 2013
Five food vending carts (employing fifteen workers) who have served the community for years at Liberty Street near Broadway in Lower Manhattan were recently displaced a Citibike docking station. The carts are run by a diverse group of immigrant small business owners who sell fruit smoothies, vegetarian food, Bangladeshi food, Thai food, and Tawainese dumplings.
The bike docking station keeps the vendors from vending within 18 inches of the curb, which is required by city law - making that spot illegal. Its installation was requested by the building owner, which has been trying to get those vendors to move for years, to no avail.
While the DOT claims to have held 400 meetings to discuss the program, no notice was given to the vendors. The local Community Board didn't even know exactly where the bike docking stations were going to go.
The DOT has not responded to the vendors' multiple requests -- both on their own in person through the local Council Member, Margaret Chin, for a meeting.
The vendors just want the bike racks (which are not bolted into the pavement, but easily moveable) to be moved about 5 feet to the adjoining roadway, where the vast majority of the Citibike docking stations are located.
The vendors are not against the bike program - they just want to work!
Please email the DOT's director of bike programs, Josh Benson, at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask him to respond.
Any questions, please call the Street Vendor Project at 646-602-5679.