Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is the Metro Editor for WNYC News. She has previously served as Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
New York City has made live its draft maps of bike share stations. The stations dot all of Manhattan south of Central Park, Long Island City, Downtown Brooklyn, Williamsburg, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Fort Greene, and Clinton Hill. (See here, for why they won't be in other neighborhoods.)
The bike share docking stations will extend the reach of the transit system to the far East and West sides of Manhattan, as well as northern Williamsburg and Greenpoint, which are currently underserved by the subway system.
In those neighborhoods, riders will be able to take a bike share to the 7 train in Long Island City or the L in Williamsburg. Now, those riders have to take an impossibly long walk, or take the G to either of those trains.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show that bike share is designed to expand the transit system -- not for recreation. "So you rent a bike, go to work, leave the bike when you get to work, pick it up when you get out of work, leave it when you get home," the Mayor said.
Neighborhoods that currently have no transit connections could be accessed through bike share. The growing population center of Williamsburg will be connected now to and Downtown Brooklyn, as well as Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Still unconnected: Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Windsor Terrace, Carroll Gardens, Crown Heights, and Prospect Heights as well as the Upper West & Upper East sides. Those neighborhoods will have to wait until 2013.
"I'm extremely proud to release this plan for the Citi Bike network . New Yorkers created this plan during the past six months, contributing time and expertise in workshops, on-line and in dozens of meetings to discuss and plan the City's newest transportation system," said New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.
The DOT says the "draft maps are the product of hundreds of meetings with community boards, elected officials, members of the public and stakeholders in each district, as well as from some 70,000 station location suggestions and comments on DOT’s bike share Web site," adding that the maps have been presented to local council members and "DOT is currently in the process of reviewing the maps with local community boards in the service area."
For the most part, community board leaders say they've been delighted with the siting process.
The locations are on "wide or underused sidewalks," as well as road space that is current "No Standing" or "No Parking."
Citibike will launch in July, and will cost $95 a year or $9.95 a day to join. Annual members can ride any bike they want for up to 45 minutes a ride, then usage fees kick in, starting at $2.50 for up to 75 minutes and $9.00 for up to 115 minutes.
Daily members get 30 minutes of free riding, with an hour costing $4 and 90 minutes costing $13.
The DOT cautions: "Citi Bike is transportation, not recreation. It is designed for short trips and encourages users to return bikes quickly so that others can use them...Think of Citi Bike as a taxi cab: Get one, get there, then dock it. See attached maps for indications of the kind of rides Citi Bike can be used for."