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Citi Bike Deal Delayed, But Expansion Slated for Next Year

Wednesday, September 03, 2014 - 02:38 PM

Bicycling, lafayette avenue bike lane (Kate Hinds)

When we last checked in on the deal — in which venture capital firm REQX was negotiating to infuse Citi Bike's ailing bike share operator Alta with much-needed cash — an announcement seemed poised to take place by the end of August.

But at an event Wednesday morning trumpeting New York City's crowning as the most bike-friendly city in the country (according to Bicycling Magazine), there was no update on the talks.

"There will be an announcement. I wish I could tell you exactly when, [but] I still can't," said Polly Trottenberg, the city's transportation commissioner. "The city has made tremendous progress in our part of the deal, and now really REQX and Alta are finalizing their piece of the deal."

What's the holdup — especially since Alta's cash flow problems have been public knowledge since the winter?  "This is a complicated deal," Trottenberg said, adding that it involved not just Alta and New York City, but lead sponsor Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, which is helping to put the deal together. "New York has the largest program in the country and there are a lot of moving parts to it, but I think we will have a deal and we will be seeing Citi Bike expand all over the city."

(Later, in the post-press conference scrum, she told reporters, "Honestly, I think Alta are not the easiest guys in the world to negotiate with. I don't think that's a secret.)

When pressed on the bike-share program's expansion plans, Trottenberg said it would be "premature" to provide details, but confirmed the blue bikes will stretch to the Upper East and Upper West Sides in Manhattan. When? WHEN? "I think I can confidently say 2015 and not get myself in trouble," she said.

Other neighborhoods that will eventually see bike share include Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Astoria, Long Island City, the rest of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Park Slope, Harlem, East Harlem, Sunnyside, Prospect Heights, Carroll Gardens, Red Hook, Prospect/Lefferts Gardens and parts of Crown Heights.

To support the cycling infrastructure in New York, Trottenberg said the city was adding 58 miles of bike lanes this year, including five miles of protected lanes. New York now also has 21,320 bike racks, and has filled 430,000 potholes so far this year.

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Comments [4]

AMHess from Harlem

CitiBike will be a very useful transport option uptown, particularly for crosstown travel.

And just to restate the obvious, it is a private investment from REQX, not a "taxpayer bailout".

Sep. 05 2014 12:27 PM
Guest from NYC

Good news.

Will be nice to be able to get across town north of Midtown fairly quickly, any time of day.

Sep. 04 2014 10:50 PM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

The reason why they were placed where they are was because of the claim that densely populated areas will give more ridership. However, what was not taken into effect was that with major transit options already available, there was no need for bike share. As for the bailout, I'm still against this, and if Citi Bike can't survive on its own, then it should just die on its own. It's not as if anything else that is private is given life support from taxpayers unless they have some special relationships with certain politicians.

Sep. 04 2014 06:56 PM
fLIPOUTNYC from Ridgewood

Why don't they install citibike in the neighborhoods where there are no transportations around there. It will be more useful than to have it in the neighborhoods where there are enough subway and busses.

Sep. 04 2014 11:19 AM

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