City leaders and lawmakers met Monday to discuss the future of Citi Bike across the five boroughs and how best to expand the bike-share program.
The current expansion of the program — called Phase 2 — is bringing Citi Bike into parts of Astoria, Harlem and Crown Heights. By the end of next year, there will be more than 100 new stations and 2,000 new bikes in New York City.
City officials said Phase 3 is not yet planned but they have their eye on getting into the Bronx and Staten Island eventually.
Right now, there are only Citi Bike stations in midtown and lower Manhattan, northern Brooklyn and western Queens.
New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg made her case to the City Council Monday. The biggest issue involves logistics, she said — making sure stations aren’t in the way of sidewalks and parking spots, and that there are always bikes available.
“You have a lot of things on the street: fire hydrants, loading zones, building entrances,” she said.
“As the system gets bigger and bigger, making sure you have the bikes in the places where people need them is one challenge, and the other discussion we have is about when we put in public dollars you heard a lively discussion of when would you do that, what would be appropriate,” she added.
The DOT is trying to bill Citi Bike as an affordable and convenient commuting method for New Yorkers. Trottenberg said that a monthly Citi Bike membership costs about $15, while a monthly MetroCard is more than $150.
But Astoria resident Basma Edid was skeptical.
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“It would be great to get people up and moving, I would benefit from it, but I also don’t think I would actually use Citi Bike,” he said. “I’m not sure if this is a Citi Bike neighborhood.”
Elise Goldin of Crown Heights noted changing demographics could spur the popularity of the bike-share program, however: “Probably more of the people who are moving into the neighborhood recently, rather than the long-term tenants.”
The City Council is currently not on board with using city money to fund the bike share program. Though Citi Bike is prepared with private funding for its expansion plan through next year, it’s not yet clear how the expansion into the Bronx and Staten Island will be paid for.
Editorial note: Citibank, has their name on this project but they are not sponsoring the program in full! Why do they get to have their name on it? It should be named City Bike!