Flanked by colleagues, Citi Bike riders and bike advocates, Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the City Council Transportation Committee, released this letter to Mayor de Blasio, signed by 34 Council Members, requesting funding in the upcoming budget for the expansion of Citi Bike to all five boroughs. The widespread NYC Council support for public funding to continue Citi Bike’s expansion mirrors polling data that shows an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers who say Citi Bike should be in more neighborhoods across the city.
With Mayor de Blasio’s leadership, Citi Bike has moved from an urban experiment to a full component of our city’s transportation infrastructure. In order to ensure that the Citi Bike program is able to meet the Mayor’s equity goals through expansion into all five boroughs, a supermajority of Council Members maintain that City funding is necessary. This move would follow the example of cities across the country that subsidize their bike share systems to increase availability to residents.
“Now is the time to invest in bringing Citi Bike to more neighborhoods,” said
Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Council Transportation Committee. “Citi Bike has grown to be more than a neighborhood amenity; it is now a fully-fledged public good that we should make available to all New Yorkers regardless of background or zip code. To ensure blue bikes are reaching the Bronx, Staten Island and upper Manhattan, we need to invest the resources to get it done. I’m glad so many of my colleagues agree.”
Citi Bike launched in May 2013 with 6,000 bikes at 332 stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. By the end of 2017, Citi Bike will have doubled in size, with 12,000 bikes at 700 stations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Since Citi Bike’s launch, annual membership has grown to more than 115,000.
The Citi Bike program has become tremendously popular among New Yorkers and visitors alike. Riders took more than 14 million trips in 2016, up from 10 million the year before. On peak days, the system can now host upwards of 60,000 trips- as many as Borough Taxis and the Staten Island Ferry. These numbers prove that Citi Bike has already become a major transportation option in New York City, and with continued expansion, more communities can have another option to get around.
The system has expanded over the past two years but still only serves a small fraction of the City, missing lower-density neighborhoods and many lower-income communities of color that lag behind in terms of public health indicators. Other communities with scant transportation options can benefit tremendously through being added to the network.
“Expanding Citi Bike will serve many communities throughout the City that
lack accessible transportation and numerous commuting options that are afforded to many neighborhoods. The program not only serves as a transportation
option, but can also promote physical fitness, outdoor exploration and other benefits. We should move forward on Citi Bike’s expansion,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres of the Bronx.
“Citi Bike is proving a transformative option for communities across the city to move around in new and exciting ways,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “With serious public investment in this program, we can make this public good available to more New Yorkers across different backgrounds. I am eager to see this funding added in this year’s budget so we can keep up the pace of expansion.”
“Bike share programs like Citi Bike offer residents affordable and alternative means of travel. Since the program rolled out in 2013, we have seen some expansion in neighborhoods of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, and in a handful of neighborhoods in Queens. Transportation equity is a goal we should all be striving for and investing in a more thoughtful expansion will help promote access for all families looking to get healthy and get moving.” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso.
“Expanding the Citi Bike program throughout the five boroughs will provide another mode of transportation–that is healthy, safe, and inexpensive–for many under-served communities, most notably in the far reaches of the outer-boroughs . This isn’t just about providing a fashionable amenity, but truly about providing access to a beneficial resource that could add value in so many ways. I fully support Citi Bike being scaled to accommodate the growing demand for its service,” said Council Member Anabel Palma.
“I want to thank my colleagues in the City Council, the Bed-Stuy Restoration Corporation, Transportation Alternatives, Get Women Cycling, and many others for their extremely hard work on this important initiative. We have seen that the growing use of Citi Bikes as a shared mode of transportation in New York City has allowed residents to become more active in their neighborhoods. Now we have the opportunity to expand this resource and allow our constituents, regardless of income level, to be healthier, more environmentally friendly, and better connected to their surroundings. Our hope is that this expanded service will continue to benefit our city for years to come,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene.
“Today marks a critical point for expanding Citi Bike accessibility,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera. “I have supported inclusion in Citi Bike since its development and launch in 2013. This program must be made available to lower-income New Yorkers and communities of color, for whom public transit has become unaffordable and private transportation is often out of reach. Continuing the expansion of Citi Bike is an important step in achieving transportation equity.”
“Over the past few years, it has been exciting to see Citi Bike be welcomed as an alternative mode of transportation by countless New Yorkers,” said Council Member Mark Levine. “Though Citi Bike has been a runaway success in the parts of the city where it was initially rolled out, the program left the outer boroughs and many low-income neighborhoods underrepresented. To rectify this I fully support public funding to continue expanding Citi Bike throughout the city, so that every New Yorker can access what is now a fixture of the City’s infrastructure.”
“Bring bikes to the Bronx,” said Council Member Andy Cohen.
Council Member Costa Constantinides said, “All New Yorkers deserve the opportunity to use Citi Bike in their own neighborhoods. This energy-efficient, green way to travel helps build sustainable habits among our communities and brings an additional transit option to New Yorkers. I look forward to the coming expansion of Citi Bike to Astoria and hope it will be expanded further soon. Now more than ever, our city must lead the way on expanding transportation options and reducing emissions across all neighborhoods. I stand with my Council colleagues in support of public funding for a Citi Bike expansion into all five boroughs. Thank you to Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez for his leadership on this important issue.”
“Citi Bike has become an integral part of our transportation network, and we agree with Council Member Rodriguez that it must become a five-borough bike share system to which every New Yorker has access,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “We look forward to the discussions between City Hall, the Council and Citi Bike operator Motivate about public investment in station expansion and membership options for all low-income New Yorkers, and we renew our call for greater investment in street redesigns, so our network of protected bike lanes will keep pace with Citi Bike expansion.”
“Bike share is a convenient and affordable transportation option that directly ties into Restoration’s goals around employment and public health. Rates of obesity and related diseases, as well as high unemployment, disproportionately impact inner-city communities of color, and bike share is a great way to provide opportunities for residents to live more active lives and connect to job opportunities. Through our work with the Better Bikeshare Partnership working with Citi Bike, DOT, DOHMH and other partners we have witnessed a 50% increase in membership in Bed Stuy. Communities across the five boroughs deserve the opportunity to benefit from the expansion of bike share,” said Tracey Capers, Executive Vice President for Programs, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.
“TWU fully supports public investment into Citi Bike expansion. As it becomes clearer that Bikeshare is transit, and as such a public good that should be accessible to all, public dollars are essential to making this great system available to all New Yorkers,” said Nicholas Bedell, Education Director at TWU Local 100.