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Holden Calls for the Firing of Queens DOT Commissioner, Says Agency Shows ‘Contempt’ For Civic Groups

Queens DOT Commissioner Nicole Garcia at P.S. 11 in Woodside. Council Member Holden is calling for her firing (File Photo)

July 8, 2022 By Christian Murray (updated)

Council Member Bob Holden is calling for the firing of Queens DOT Commissioner Nicole Garcia arguing that she fails to listen to the concerns of residents and shows contempt for local civic organizations.

Holden’s call for Garcia’s ousting comes at a time when the DOT is working on installing 52 Citi Bike stations in Middle Village and Maspeth, both neighborhoods he represents.

The council member has been critical of the agency for not properly notifying his constituents about the Middle Village/Maspeth plan, and then failing to work with civic groups—such as Juniper Park Civic Association (JPCA) —in terms of where the stations should be installed.

The JPCA, which has embraced the Citi Bike expansion, has been calling on the DOT to place the stations on sidewalks—as opposed to on the street—as a means to preserve parking spaces. Christina Wilkinson, secretary of the association, put together a detailed plan as to where the proposed street stations could be moved to avoid the loss of parking.

The DOT rejected these calls last month, prompting criticism from Holden. (click for JPCA proposal and DOT response)

“Garcia’s Queens DOT shows nothing but contempt for local civic organizations in middle-class neighborhoods, particularly in their refusal to seriously consider requests regarding Citi Bike installations,” Holden said.

The councilmember argues that the Queens DOT is not sincere when it says it wants community feedback.

“Garcia’s Queens DOT makes a dog and pony show out of asking for community input and then throws it in the gutter. Lyft’s Citi Bike program continues to gobble up parking spaces badly needed by hardworking New Yorkers, like a giant corporate PAC MAN who refuses to hear the reasonable requests of middle-class neighborhoods in favor of the fanatical anti-car movement and a corporation with a vested interest in getting New Yorkers to give up owning cars.”

Councilmember Bob Holden (Photo: City Council)

Holden said that many neighborhoods in Queens desperately need parking spaces and have little use for renting bicycles, including seniors, families with children and the disabled.

“Lyft’s Citi Bike agenda lacks any regard for those New Yorkers and has no interest in inclusivity. The DOT should stand up for these New Yorkers and stop doing Lyft’s bidding. One of the great things about living in New York City, particularly in Queens, is that every neighborhood has its own character. The Queens DOT denies this unique diversity by forcing a one-size fits all approach to bike stations across the city.”

He said it’s time for the Queens DOT to turn a page and advocate for its residents. He said the agency also has a history of denying requests for stop signs, speed bumps and other traffic safety measures in his district that would keep his constituents safe.

“The Queens DOT can only move our borough toward a safer future with a new commissioner who will listen to community feedback and respond swiftly to the needs of Queens taxpayers.”

But the DOT stands by Garcia, saying that she has done exemplary work while being in charge of the Queens office. The agency says she has been responsible for many innovative changes that have increased safety.

“Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia and the Queens office have shepherded some of the City’s most exciting and innovative projects in recent years, bringing historic improvements to bus service, new pedestrian plazas and other entirely new street designs that have made the diverse streets of the World’s Borough safer and more vibrant for all residents,” said DOT spokesperson Vin Barone.

Barone also said that the Queens office does listen to the community in terms of where Citi Bike stations should be located.

“An exemplary public official, Borough Commissioner Garcia and her office have given careful and detailed consideration to community feedback on Citi Bike siting – and we stand by her work.”

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31 Comments

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Natalie Sheehan

Stop with the Citibikes in Queens. Most people own their own homes. Stop taking away parking spaces. Amazing how DOT worries about Citibikes but doesn’t give a crap about cars making turns on red lights, because there is no turn signals. I have written twice and was told the turn signals were not warranted but they went to look and observe traffic after morning rush hours and before evening rush hours. It would be nice if they actually went rush hours to see the cars turning on red.

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Susanne

Why are there two new citibike stations within 2 blocks of each other-48 st at Barnett by tennis courts and 50 St at Barnett by the Phipps?

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Anonymous

Pro or con, it is difficult to argue that the plan for 39th avenue was handled democratically or truthfully. Holden may have a point on this one.

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Anonymous

Exactly correct! Nicole Garcia is either incompetent or a liar when stating at the CB2 public hearing meeting that 39th Avenue redesign would not remove any parking spots, and then we lose 40-50 spots once it is completed. Incompetence shows she has no idea of what designs are in her position. A liar is a character trait. Either way, she should no longer hold any public leadership position.

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Anonymous

They said minimal parking loss. Most of the spots taken turned into a red light at 52nd, areas to give clearance for wide turns, de facto loading zones, and crosswalks. I am perfectly OK with all of that. We often use the spot by the corner of 49th as a de facto loading zone when we get groceries or drive great grandma around. It was more like 20-30 spots but each one has been put to better use.

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Rocio

Cops keep targeting my paper licence plates. Mine is legal. Tired of them pulling me over. Its racists.

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Heather

Most of the citibikes are being used by young whites. So i do not know what his problem is. Bike lanes also help minority workers deliver food and drinks faster to mostly white transplants and hipsters. He should resign.

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Perri Flamel

The problem is people are losing parking spaces. White, black purple, plaid. Don’t accuse when you don’t know the argument

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Roads are for people

Get rid of all the car parking spaces. The city should stop subsidizing storage of private property (cars) in public spaces. Use this space for the public good. Yes, some vehicles are needed but not as many as we have on the road so you can pay private garages for your private vehicles. Let’s use the space for community events and diminish car traffic to the minimum necessary. Generations of free or cheap parking and cheap fuel has resulted in a sense of entitlement to own a car and destroy the air, increase asthma and other diseases, and let a minority take over the public space. The idea that roads are only for vehicular traffic is over. Roads used to be shared by horses, cars, kids playing, merchants selling their wares. Screw Robert Moses and the “roads are for cars” bs!

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Maria

Get rid of alternate side parking!! Tired of moving my car and looking for parking. And demand that people go back to the office. All these youngsters working from home only using their cars once a month to go on vacation or attend an out of state abortion rally!!

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Perri Flamel

Another fool commenting on another topic. Alternate side will not help is there are no spaces. What does abortion have to do with parking.?

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Gullible Republicans believe in myths fairytales and conspiracy theories

Perri- It’s all the power of brainwashing. As Trump said “repeat it enough they will believe it” The word abortion is said 50,000 times a day on Fox News, the word patriot 35,000, the word liberal 45,000, the word socialist 35,000, you get the idea.

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Pat

Mr. Holden, get Citibikes to put license plates on their bikes so if bikers using them violate the traffic laws, Citibikes (Lyft) will be culpable.

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It works for cars!

Exactly! Cars have license plates, when’s the last time you ever heard of a motorist not being culpable in NYC?!

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Private Driveways are Next

First they came for the street parking, next they will come for private driveways and garages.

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Angry Bob bloviates again!

It has been four long years since this piece in the Voice humorously detailed Robert Holden’s struggles as an outsider in the council. https://www.villagevoice.com/2018/07/09/life-as-a-city-council-newbie-has-been-rough-for-angry-bob/

Robert Holden has learned less than nothing since that was written. If anything he has made more enemies in every corner of the city at the expense of his district. It’s certainly a cautionary tale to other neighborhoods who try to elect anti-government activists to governing bodies.

Holden has utterly failed as a member of the NYC Council. He doesn’t seem to know or care about how DOT or the city works, or that the majority of his district takes public transit for that matter. A handful of parking spaces every 5-10 blocks won’t make a difference to the majority of his constituents. But maybe that isn’t the point, because it’s always about him and the JPCA, not them.

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Gardens Watcher

Who reads the Village Voice anymore? Holden was re-elected. Get over it.

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It went out of business

Nobody since it went out of business. But the archives of their great reporting are up, including that pitch perfect profile of the scourge of D30.

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Pa

Between bike lanes & citibike rentals there’s not much space left to park! Why dont they put bike stations on sidewalk .Really get rid of these eyesore !

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Private parking should be free!

Exactly, my $29 emissions free entitles me to free parking for my private vehicle anywhere in NYC

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Mike T

I don’t know if he’s a democrat or republican. Doesn’t matter. Every time I read about Holden, he is saying something that makes sense.

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DG Duffy

Judging by how the changes on 39th Avenue were handled , I couldn’t agree more that Ms. Garcia has no regard for members of our community. It is appropriate that she be called out for this . Mr. Barone is similarly culpable.

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Incoherent

This rambling nonsense is completely divorced from reality. Nicole Garcia, unlike Robert Holden, has done a great job by D30.

Keep it up, Nicole! Great job NYC DOT. THANK YOU for bringing Citi Bike to this transit desert to help connect middle class residents to our city.

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parking shouldn’t be free

Love more bike lanes and bike shares.

Planet is dying.

If you live in our big city and choose to drive you should be responsible for the consequences. Boo hoo takes you 5 more minutes to park.

Live in the suburbs.

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NobodyUKnow

You drinking the “Go Green” Kool Aid huh, the planet has been “dying” for hundreds and hundreds of years but we are still here!

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whatup

you’ll (unfortunately) be dead before you have to see the consequences of your short-sighted gas guzzling selfishness.

personal automobiles and acres upon acres of single family mcmansions are unsustainable.

america is the only ‘developed’ country that can’t figure it out because too many of the f150 driving bozos ate lead paint as children

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War on the Middle Class

The plan has always been to deliberately make owning a car as difficult as possible. Soon, only the very wealthy will be able to own a private vehicle and they will have the streets all to themselves.

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