And so it begins…
Citi Bike launched less than one week ago, and (as TSTC predicted earlier this month) elected officials who represent neighborhoods the bike share system doesn’t yet serve are already clamoring for the system’s expansion.
City Councilmembers Stephen Levin of North Brooklyn and Jimmy Van Bramer of Long Island City were among the earliest adopters of Citi Bike, even though Citi Bike hasn’t yet expanded to the neighborhoods they serve (and live in). Levin told Capital New York‘s Dana Rubinstein that he and many Greenpoint cyclists are jealous that they don’t have bikes in their neighborhood yet.
“The Northside and Greenpoint are very bike friendly neighborhoods,” said Levin. “There are lots of very committed bicyclists. They want to see them put in ASAP.”
Van Bramer, the third Councilmember to sign up for a Citi Bike membership (after Levin and Brooklyn’s Brad Lander) echoed Levin’s sentiment, saying that he believes “not having western Queens be a part of this at the beginning is definitely a loss for the program.” The City’s original plan was to include more of Brooklyn and Long Island City in the initial rollout, but now it appears those neighborhoods won’t see the bright blue bikes until later this year.
Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito, who represents East Harlem and part of the South Bronx, joined the growing chorus of elected officials who want to see bike share in their districts.
Given how El Barrio/East Harlem has embraced protected bike lanes on First and Second Avenues, I of course would welcome seeing the bike share program extend to my district,”[…]”I would hope as the program grows, that we can see consideration for communities above 96th Street and in the South Bronx.”
The goal has been to eventually reach 10,000 bikes and 600 stations, but no plan to get there has been solidified. NYC DOT spokesman Nicholas Mosquera said “there will be a chance to expand in the future based on demand and resources.” It’s pretty clear that there’s demand for more bikes in more places, but what’s not clear is where the resources to fund that expansion will come from — especially given the City’s commitment to not use taxpayer funding.
So far, NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said the department is working with additional sponsors to fund expansion. They’re also considering a loan from the Small Business Administration to replace bikes that were damaged by flooding during Hurricane Sandy.