Bike Share Day 1; And a Transportation Road Rally

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A bike share docking station location near Bargemusic in Dumbo, Brooklyn A bike share docking station location near Bargemusic in Dumbo, Brooklyn (Brian Wise/WQXR)

NYC's bike share launched yesterday. Janette Sadik-Khan, NYC transportation commissioner, discusses the program and her vision for a bike-friendly NYC.

→ Plus: The first-ever thoroughly unscientific WNYC Transportation Road Rally.

We've picked a spot on the Lower East Side that provides a bit of a transportation dilemma, with options to bike, cab, or take the subway. WNYC's Jody Avirgan, Jim O'Grady, and Kate Hinds will leave from the corner of Clinton and E Broadway at the same time and try to get to the WNYC studios by cab, bike share, and subway (respectively). They'll report in along the way on their progress.

UPDATE: Jim O'Grady, on a bike share, wins! Jody Avirgan couldn't find a cab for five minutes and arrived second. Kate Hinds waited 15mins to transfer trains and arrived 10minutes after Jody. Read their reflections here.


Janette Sadik-Khan

Comments [44]

DTorres from Manhattan

I signed up for Citibike and I truly love it.
But I wish there were more bike lanes.
Riding in traffic, doesn't feel safe to me.
I love the bike lanes and use them all the time.
I do use the Citibike, the way I used the bus or the train.

Jun. 04 2013 05:46 PM
I O H from Lower East Side

I don't understand what the below section from the rental agreement has to do with riding a bike that is part of a public transportation initiative:

"Section 21 Waivers.Back to top

No waiver of any breach of any provision of this Agreement is a waiver of any other breach or of any other provision of this Agreement. The terms of this Agreement may be waived or amended only in writing and only by the party that is entitled to the benefits of the term being waived or amended.

For good and valuable consideration, the receipt and adequacy of which are hereby acknowledged, You do hereby knowingly, voluntarily, and irrevocably: (1) give Your full and unconditional consent to NYCBS and its affiliates, successors, and assigns to use at any time and from time to time, without any restriction, Your appearance and voice in photographs, videos, and other recordings, on all websites and for all press, promotional, advertising, publicity, and other commercial purposes, including all formats and media, whether now known or hereafter devised, throughout the world and in perpetuity; (2) grant to NYCBS and its affiliates, successors, and assigns (a) the right to photograph, videotape, and otherwise record Your appearance and voice, at any time and from time to time, (b) all rights, copyrights, title, and interests in the results of such photographs, videos, and other recordings, as a work for hire for copyright purposes, and (c) the right to use, reproduce, exhibit, distribute, transmit, alter, and exploit, at any time and from time to time and as NYCBS may decide in its sole discretion, the photographs, videos, and other recordings, or any component thereof, and all related merchandising, promotions, advertising, and publicity; and (3) waive, release, and discharge all Released Persons from all Claims that You have or may have for any libel, defamation, invasion of privacy, right of publicity, infringement of copyright, or violation of any right granted by You in this paragraph."

Jun. 03 2013 01:43 PM
nelson from 10003

I have a bike and also signed up for Citibike. It's already come in handy this past week with these rainy days; I can ride my regular bike to work, take the subway home to dodge the rain, and then use the bike share for the one way trip back to where I left my own bike.

Even though I'll usually prefer my own bike, I'm certain the annual fee will pay for itself for these useful one way trips.

May. 31 2013 12:23 PM

What in the world is wrong with everyone?

Let's try to knock back some of the craziness:

1. If you use bike sharing right, you pay your yearly fee and never (or hardly ever) pay anything again because you return it to a docking station in the alloted time. You may return it to a station and take it immediately back out which is something many people that have long rides in other cities do.

2. Bike sharing is not meant for joy riding/24-hour rental/circling the park. The pricing reflects this. Short rides free - longer rides not. If you want to rent a bike for 24 hours there are plenty of places that do it.

3. I have seen some of your neighborhoods and the bike kiosk is probably the pretiest thing on your "tree-lined avenues."

4. RELAX! This is New York! A few freaking bikes, a few parking spaces taken, a few extra mentions of Citibank are not going to ruin the city! JUST RELAX!

May. 31 2013 12:05 PM
C. Tennyson from Ridgewood, Queens.

jf from reality - "too expensive, the bike share won't be a failure if they make it almost free. Buying a bike is almost free. target has vintage style cruisers for $109 bike share is 90 a month. stupid really really stupid."

Yes, you can buy a cruiser from Target or other department stores for just over $100. And for you money you'll get almost no service - do you think your bike will actually be FITTED to you by a qualified technician, to make sure it's the right size for you? Do you think it will be assembled by a qualified mechanic? How good a ride do you think it will actually be? Do you believe it will be made out of anything but the lowest end materials and carry anything but the cheapest components? How long do you think it will actually last you? If you get a year of even halfway decent riding out of it I'd be astonished. If you want a reasonably ok bike that'll last even a few years, do a little research, find a decent bike shop where the sales force knows what they're doing, establish a relationship with them, so they know your needs when you come in, and be prepared to spend $400-$500 minimum - more if you want higher quality.

The bike share is $95 (about $103 after taxes) per YEAR, not per month.

May. 30 2013 10:42 AM
jf from reality

too expensive, the bike share won't be a failure if they make it almost free.
Buying a bike is almost free. target has vintage style cruisers for $109 bike share is 90 a month. stupid really really stupid.

May. 29 2013 06:04 PM

Ilene, you couldn't have expressed it better. Bike riding is great. I scoot all over town because I prefer it to mass transportation and I believe in the environmental benefit plus it's fun. That said, in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, the bike racks are everywhere. They are hideous to look at and I also resent having Citibank in my face all over my completely residential and formerly pretty neighborhood. As usual, this mayor rams it down our throats because he, apparently, knows better. (Funny how a Wall Street guy, who purports to have great business knowledge, never warned us about what was coming down the pike in 2008 but has no problem believing that he knows what's best for us.)

May. 29 2013 09:33 AM
C. Tennyson from Ridgewood, Queens

Joe Pearce from Brooklyn - "Hey, C. Tennyson, walk anyway, even if it does take longer." Nah, I'll stick to my bikes. They put more of my city in easy reach and they're still good exercise. As for a Coke at the end, if I really want that much Coke I'll buy two! But, of course, what I really prefer after a long ride is a nice, big, cold gin and tonic. Cheers!

May. 28 2013 06:10 PM
Joe Pearce from Brooklyn

Hey, C. Tennyson, walk anyway, even if it does take longer. It will improve your health and make Mayor Nanny Bloomberg so happy that he will give you a special dispensation to buy an 18-ounce coke at a McDonald's of your choice at the end of your walk. It's a win-win situation.

May. 28 2013 03:58 PM
C. Tennyson from Ridgewood, Queens

Not sure why everyone's noses are so out of joint about the CitiBank livery. I mean, I know our subways, taxis, and buses are all totally 100% free from advertisement but really...If it hadn't been CitiBank it would have been some other evil corporation. Get over it.

May. 28 2013 12:41 PM

Segment was too short. Overwhelmingly self- congratulatory. Why doesn't WNYC hold Sadik-Khan's feet to the fire? No discussion of Citibank advertising. Very disappointing.

May. 28 2013 12:26 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Elise, you live in Harlem & call Manhattan a "flat island"? It's uphill both ways from 125th St., & to the north are the well-named Washington *Heights* & the not-exactly-flat-either Inwood. Or are you assuming the bike-share program won't expand to the rest of the city? If it does, I hope that low gear is low enough!

May. 28 2013 12:18 PM
C. Tennyson from Ridgewood, Queens

Robert from NYC - "Why don't these folks just buy a bike!!" Many of us have. I have a couple of bikes yet I STILL signed up for the bike share. Think of it this way: there are plenty of people who own cars who still take cabs. Why? Because private cars and cabs have different strengths and weaknesses and serve different purposes. The compliment each other so it's not either-or. In the same way, Citi Bike will compliment other modes of transportation.

May. 28 2013 12:07 PM
Robert from Brooklyn Heights

This following comment is not aimed at the safety-minded, common sense bike rider. Having said that, the city has not set up the entire holistic structure for the safety and well-being of residents who prefer to walk. The pedestrian is all but non-existent in this evaluation. I have not read or heard one iota of analysis regarding pedestrians being hit by bikes driven by riders ignorant or unwilling to comply with safety rules. Have you walked over the Brooklyn Bridge lately? Every day there are riders (usually young men) standing up pedaling furious going DOWNHILL to the detriment of mother's with children, older folks, and the general bridge-crossers. This resource unfortunately unleashes the unsafe biker who choose to go the wrong way, against traffic, through parks, ignoring written instructions to dismount,pedaling on the phone, not to mention the gazillion delivery people. The mayor needs to properly enforce traffic rules. The past has shown that cars are rarely summoned for speeding, etc - how on earth will the bikes be enforced?

May. 28 2013 12:06 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Why are the lights on only when the bike is moving? I wouldn't want to be sitting at a red light w/traffic waiting to turn right on a bike w/no lights! And what about when you're going downhill & coasting? Are the lights connected to motion of the wheels or of the pedals? Maybe they could be solar powered & work like garden lights, absorbing sunlight during the day & automatically switching to being on when it gets dark.

May. 28 2013 12:02 PM
Burtnor from Manhattan

Problem is it takes more than a half hour to bike from the upper west side to near World Trade Center site, where I work. I would have to return the bike and pick up another one on route to stay within the stingy half hour limit.

May. 28 2013 11:59 AM

New share program is great. But when are the bike lanes going to be restriped. They are fading away to nothingness.

May. 28 2013 11:59 AM
Robert from NYC

On the news I heard people compaining that they're no supposed to ride on the sidewalk!! Do they really think that's ok? And how many people are aware that the is actually a law on the books that prohibit anyone over 10 years old from riding bikes on the sidewalks? That's right it's actually against the law to ride on sidewalks unless you are 10 yrs old and under.

May. 28 2013 11:58 AM
Jay F.

What country were these bikes built?

May. 28 2013 11:58 AM
dan k from park slope

Janette Sadik-Khan has done amazing things for this city. As an architect, I know well how hard it is to get the things done that she has. She should run for mayor!

May. 28 2013 11:57 AM

The driver who called in, she should always be in control of her car. I’m not sure what her fear is, other than her bad driving skills.

May. 28 2013 11:57 AM

There is never any talk about bikes hitting pedestrians. Or driving recklessly, sometimes with their children strapped aboard.

May. 28 2013 11:57 AM
John Hackettt from Manhattan

Very excited about Bike Share. Great new program.
My question: as regards pricing, why isn't there an option for a one-time use?
As it stands, users have the option of taking the bike for a whole day or week -- but that shuts out the person who might want to jump on a bike for one quick trip.

May. 28 2013 11:56 AM
Michelle from Upper West Side

Brian, Please ask the commissioner if there are any plans to expand the bike stations beyond 60th street?

Thank You!!

May. 28 2013 11:55 AM
Robert from NYC

Why don't these folks just buy a bike!!

May. 28 2013 11:53 AM
Robert from NYC

Frankly I hope this particular bike share program fails. The mayor likes to brag that it's at no cost to the tax payer. Well that statement, like most statements that come out of the mayors mouth, is plain and simple blsht! Citibank is making really good on the deal and we, the tax payer, are getting screwed. A real plan would be to use bikes paid for by us with business donors, corporate or otherwise, to set up free service, less intrusive bike lockers, stands or whatever they're called whereby anyone can take a bike from one and leave it at another. This is how it was originally presented when the idea first came up some years ago. This systems sucks and you can tell the Commissioner when she arrives that although she likes to brag that they got "great support" from "everyone" she's lying. Citibank is cleaning up as banks tend to. It's time people got wise to the corporatization of everything and how unhealthy it is. Wake up people.

May. 28 2013 11:47 AM
elise from West Harlem

I rode 5 bikes yesterday (after riding my own bike form West harlem to Columbus circle and lending that bike to my friend who took the train to meet me- she is visiting from out of town) and it was GREAT!!! I was expecting a horrible time getting bikes out and a terrible ride so I was pleasantly surprised to feel SO comfortable and relaxed all day! The ONLY glitch that i encountered (at least I HOPE it was a glitch that will be fixed SOON is that I could never return a bike to a docking station and then get another from same station! Even if I waited more than an hour between docking and trying to undock!

Also, to the naysayers and complainers; Bike share in a city on a flat island IS the future. The next thing HOPEFULLY will be congestion pricing, paid street parking EVERYWHERE (based on income) as driving on an ISLAND should be a privilege, not a righT!! Bike share is just the beginning! UNfortunately, Ill have to have smokers lung from living with all this pollution DRIVERS generate before this actually happens...

In summary; Yay bike share and moving FORWARD to a cleaner, greener citY!!!

May. 28 2013 11:36 AM
C. Tennyson from Ridgewood, Queens

Joe Pearce from Brooklyn - "Why don't you just walk the distance?" Because even at a moderate pace biking is roughly 3-5 times faster than walking. So that means for a give distance you're going to get there in 1/3 to 1/5 the time, or, in a given amount of time you're going to be able to get 3-5 times further. And that gives you more options.

May. 28 2013 11:35 AM

As a pedestrian, I’m grateful for the bike lines. They and the cars parked in the middle of the street really help calm all the rogue cabs and jersey drivers, by limiting the number of lanes to weave in and out of.
You know it’s doing something good if it’s got so many old people upset.

May. 28 2013 11:34 AM
mark from NJ

No, No, NO, the tires are NOT filled with Helium, they're filled with Nitrogen, and NOT to prevent punctures (!!), but because, unlike standard compressed air, Nitrogen is less subject to expansion and contraction as the temperature varies -- hopefully reducing the maintenance requirements for the bikes.

May. 28 2013 11:34 AM
Daniel Dunnam from Brooklyn

Thank JSK for a job superbly done!

Despite the rattling on from a small but loud band of "scared of change" naysayers, time will show Citi Bikes to be yet another wonderful addition to the city, just like the Select Buses, the pedestrian plazas, the traffic calming, and yes, even the bike paths. All of this, but most of all Citi Bikes, will prove to be a lasting legacy of her incredible tenure at DOT.

There's a reason NYC is rapidly becoming a transpiration model for the nation and the world, and that reason is her bold vision, and Bloomberg's willingness to get her back.

May. 28 2013 11:34 AM
C. Tennyson from Ridgewood, Queens

RJ from prospect hts - The Citi Bikes are cabs, not tour buses. They exist to get one from point A to point B, when point B is too close or too inconveniently placed for mass transit, but too far to be an easy walk. They're good for rides of a few miles or less. Thought they're pleasant enough to ride they're NOT for pleasure riding. For that, get your own bike (a lot of bike owners, myself included, have signed up for the share) or rent one from a bike shop.

I've heard of some businesses already offering bike share memberships as perks to their employees. I hope that this kind of thing will be encouraged by the city by whatever means the city has at its disposal.

May. 28 2013 11:30 AM
Joe Pearce from Brooklyn

Why don't you just walk the distance? Unless I'm in a huge rush, that's how I get around Manhattan (when forced to swim the East River to that traffically-challenged little island). It's cheaper, more healthful, really the least frustrating mode of travel (since you maintain your own pace with little impedimenta from outside forces), and you are pretty much your own boss throughout the journey (assuming you don't jaywalk, but who would do that in Manhattan?)

May. 28 2013 11:21 AM
RJ from prospect hts

Oh, the idiocy of the mayor's focus on work-related use of the bike share program--limiting the time for the cost, focusing on short rentals . . . . I guess his wealth-and-business class focus overcomes his occasionally useful public health one. The bike-share program should be subsidized at minimum for free 24-hour use (and perhaps, as with Transitcheck) use of tax encouragement for businesses to encourage employees, for the HEALTH value of bike riding. Period.

May. 28 2013 11:14 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Shouldn't that be a "road/rail rally"?

May. 28 2013 11:13 AM
C. Tennyson from Ridgewood, Queens

Strange that drivers feel that they're being "punished" when only a tiny fraction of a percent of the public streets are being converted to non-automotive modes of transportation. Remember: though they're still a distinct minority in this city the overwhelming majority of our shared street space is given over to accommodate them.

May. 28 2013 11:10 AM

I am convinced this will become a success! Can I get a yearly membership by walking up to the Union Square Kiosk? Will they give me a key on the spot, or does it still get mailed to me?

Jimmy A-Z

May. 28 2013 11:10 AM
Tom Palasits from Midtown NYC

I picked up a bike outside PABT at 8:15 this morning. There were still plenty left. I got to 56th & 6th in less than ten minutes. There were plenty of available docks and bikes. The bikes weigh a ton. Having three speeds helps. I am looking forward to the installation of a stand at Grand Army Plaza.

At least ln my first try, the system worked as advertised.

May. 28 2013 10:49 AM

The bike stands are a huge obstacle. They are not like parked cars which come and go. They are a permanent obstacle. I'm a blue collar worker serving the city of New York. I live in the East Village. Transportation is so extremely difficult in my neighborhood that I cannot get my baby and the laundry out of the car and into my building without incident. This is all just a part of the mayor's desire to rid New York City of cars. However New York needs cars. Drivers shouldn't be punished. It needs workers like myself who deliver goods and services that cannot be delivered on a bike. Bicycle riding is a fine thing. I encourage it but not at the expense of my livelihood. Citibikes should be parked in front of Citibanks!

May. 28 2013 10:48 AM
Jon Young from Stapleton, Staten Island

I live on Staten Island. We do not have the bike share program and it would probably be a major disaster if it were instituted here, although there would me more space for for the docking stations, the car traffic and the lack of respect for bicycle riders would doom any program.

On another bicycle transportation note, I have noticed an increase in the numbers of cyclist on the ferry and the lack of adequate space for racking the bikes during the ferry trip. This is especially a problem on the newer boats that have unused car facilities that could have bicycle racks similar to those found on the Governor's Island ferry.

May. 28 2013 10:35 AM
C. Tennyson from Ridgewood, Queens

I made a special trip in from Queens to ride the opening day of Citi Bike and I was generally pretty pleased. Would I want to ride these bikes 50 miles? No. But a mile or two would be no problem at all.

Please ask the commissioner: Can the instructions for printing out a return receipt be made more clear. I tried at a kiosk and was told to "insert my key" but there was no slot to insert it into.

Also, PLEASE - we need this program in the further flung parts of the city, not just downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. No, people won't commute in to work on Citi Bikes but it'll make getting around the neighborhoods - and getting to mass transit, which in Queens is hugely lacking - much easier.

Finally, if we don't like the name "Citi Bike," can we call them "Sadik Cycles?"

May. 28 2013 10:16 AM
fuva from harlemworld

So we're supposed to PAY to be a moving Citigroup advertisement? I wish I would...

May. 28 2013 10:04 AM
Jonathan from Washington Hgts

Commissioner, the bike-share program seems like a tremendous success, with more than 15,000 annual members already. Please describe the plans for expansion so New Yorkers who neither live nor work in the current coverage area can take advantage of this transportation option.

May. 28 2013 08:18 AM
ilene from West Village, Manhattan, New York

I have lived in the West Village for 35 years. I am a long-time daily listener and contributor to WNYC. Your coverage of Citibikes is I am shocked and sorry to say, very skewed. Bike sharing is a brilliant idea which has been horribly insensitively executed. The bike kiosks have been placed on residential side streets, angering MOST of my neighbors. They should be placed in parks or in business districts or large avenues or malls, not on pretty, intimate local streets. The character of our lovely tree-lined residential street has been utterly transformed into a Citibike (read Citibank) stand. They are ugly and distracting and have a highly big-business commercial appearance. There are people who are not part of our neighborhood traipsing in and out. Our sense of NEIGHBOR-hood has been compromised. NEIGHBORHOODS are primarily residential by sociological and etymological definition and should be run first by... neighbors. A LOT of people are angry. Town meetings were NOT held as stated by the DOT and Citibank, or if they were they were not posted and no-one knew about them. Recently, on May 2 at Community Board 2 I believe, there was a packed room nevertheless, full of upset people. Our streets are not corporate game. WHY HAVE YOU NOT COVERED THIS IN YOUR COVERAGE OF THE OPENING OF THIS GREAT PROJECT GONE VERY WRONG.

May. 28 2013 07:52 AM

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