Mets Fans To New Owner: Ya Gotta Believe Biking To Citi Field Could Be Better

Mrs. Met, one of the many women who would choose to bike to Citi Field if it were safer to do so. Photo: Citi Bike Blog
Mrs. Met, one of the many women who would choose to bike to Citi Field if it were safer to do so. Photo: Citi Bike Blog

Mets fans are asking new owner, billionaire Steve Cohen, to make two key moves as he begins his stewardship of the Amazins: Sign catcher J.T. Realmuto and make the Citi Field bike experience one worthy of a big league city ball club.

Cohen, who completed his purchase of the Mets from the hapless Wilpon family last week, recently tweeted an appeal to Mets fans to ask for ideas on how to “make YOUR Mets experience better.”

Anybody who’s ever listened to WFAN knows that there is some danger in this kind of direct appeal to fans, but the tweet also allowed the city’s cyclists to vent directly to the team’s owner about how awful it is to bike to Citi Field (which you can’t even do on Citi Bike). Fans also directly lobbied State Senator Jessica Ramos, who shared Cohen’s tweet with her constituency and got plenty of bike boosting back in return.

What the tweets had in common was a burning desire to make it safe for people to actually bike to Citi Field. The stadium already has good public transit connections thanks to a subway/LIRR station, but biking to a Mets game is an experience on par with watching the 2004 club. If you approach the stadium from 34th Avenue, you’re stuck crossing a highway multiple times before you make it to the parking lot.

If you bike on Roosevelt Avenue instead, you have to bike under the 7 train, and the road turns into a speedway west of 108th Street, with nary even a sharrow in sight. There are also multiple parking lot and highway ramps where fuming suburbanites are more focused on beating that son of a bitch in front of them than they are on not maiming a cyclist.

Obviously, Cohen can’t fix things like decades of car-first infrastructure that encouraged someone to insist that beautiful parks should be surrounded with ribbons of sprawling highways. But Cohen could present himself as a local business owner and lobby the city to make it easier for his customers to get to his business, and if the mayor really wants to influence the way things go with the team, as he hinted at during his interminable legal review of the sale, protected bike lanes around Citi Field would be a better commitment to Vision Zero than an ad on the scoreboard asking people to drive safe. (It will be up to the next mayor to drag Citi Bike to Citi Field proper, as bike share’s Phase 3 expansion slowly moves east towards Flushing Meadows Corona Park).

And as the man in charge, Cohen could take more concrete steps, like ending the ban on bike helmets and or at least adding free storage areas for helmets and overstuffed bike bags. He can fix the actual issues relating to Citi Field, especially its stunning bike rack deficit. According to the Citi Field information guide, the Mets’ home park only has 11 bike racks, the kind of thing that the team should really be embarrassed to admit (indeed, left unsaid is the fact that two of the racks are under the 7 train and are covered in pigeon poop).

Then again, this is a team whose history involves trading Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver, cutting Justin Turner and Darren O’Day, failing to keep Daniel Murphy, and signing Jed Lowrie despite having Jeff McNeill RIGHT THERE. The new era can’t start soon enough.