When Will New York's Bike Share Expand? "Not Ready to Say Yet."

Friday, February 21, 2014 - 04:30 PM

Citibikes parked in front of The Apple Store in midtown Manhattan. (Natalie Fertig/WNYC)

Towards the end of his recent interview with new NYC transportation commissioner Polly Trottenberg, Brian Lehrer asked the question that Citi Bike's 96,000+ members all want to know: when will the system expand?

Here was Trottenberg's response.

After confirming her bona fides ("Yes, I am a Citi Bike fan, I've gotten to ride. Admittedly there's been a lot of snow on the ground, so not as much as I want to, but hopefully now that it's melting, I'll get to be out there more), she hinted at an expansion without providing any specifics.

"Yes, we are sitting down with the Citi Bike folks and looking at what might be phase 2, so to speak," she said. "The mayor, as you know, has said that he's very interested in expanding the program to other boroughs, and certainly, I've been talking to members of the City Council and there's a lot of enthusiasm for doing that."

Brian asked if she could provide any specifics about where—and when—more bikes might appear.

"Well, not ready to say yet," said Trottenberg, "but obviously, our goal is to expand this to other parts of the city in the long run."

Listen to the conversation below.


Comments [14]

Chang from Manhattan

Yes, Bronx I agree, a petition to expand CitiBike in Bronx and Maspeth in Queens, but NOT in MIDTOWN IN MANHATTAN!
A question to bikers: biking is alternative to what? Instead of what? If the answer is not cars, please don't try to insist that bike is green. Most of Bikers were not driving anyway so what is contribution environmentally economically? Without giving up cars so reducing number of cars and congestion, taking up permanent space like Bikepath makes existing congestion worse in more crammed space in Midtown Manhattan. Please don't generalize NYC which has three different areas: Manhattan Central Business District, vicinities and suburban-like area near Wechester county, Nassau county and SI.

Promoting Biking for all in Manhattan CBD is blue for all including bikers themselves. Please don't say bike has zero emission. It's fallacious statement because bikers' previous modes didn't have individual emission either by walking or MTA or cab riding. So what zero emission makes any difference while making others more crammed burning more gas. Besides bad emission is becoming the word of yesterday with hybrid and electric cars.

There is only limited space on the streets until AirBike infra is built in future in this city where people travel vertically in high rise building to find space. Manhattan skyline is unlike any others city. So is its transportation need.

May. 28 2014 10:18 PM
Bronx from NYC

AMhess (+others), Sign this petition. We need to keep the pressure on the city to increase Citi Bike coverage ASAP.

Feb. 25 2014 05:45 PM
AMHess from Harlem

I wish we could get a timeline for expanding CitiBike uptown! It would be so useful for errands and multi-leg trips where the subway only works for one leg.

I don't understand the haters. More bicycle traffic and less car traffic is a win for everyone.

Feb. 25 2014 12:42 PM
TOM from Brooklyn

The initial implementation of Bike Share in NYC, or rather in the Central Business District & adjacent northern Brooklyn, required a large infusion of private capital which, as I understand it, was provided by CitiBank & a credit card corporation. This agreement was for five years to cover the big up-front costs. A steady growth in revenues should pay off this investment. CitiBike is a private enterprise and everyone with money in it would like to be assured of getting their money back especially banks. The City has made in-kind, no cash, investments of City personnel, street space without charge and access to our right-of-way. They expect a return too. Washington DC's bike share was paid for entirely by the federal government; but, we're not Washington, DC.

An expansion needs some real planning. Data must be collected. The vendor would like to capture more high return areas, upper Manhattan with its universities and straight runs downtown. However, the CBD racks & stations just may be saturated and can't take on more street storage. Only the vendor knows. Perhaps they should plan to expand outward with Manhattan not as a prime destination. Increasing the distance from Times Square only complicates the reliability of the ride. Would the new revenues support this? This any investor wants to know. Direct federal funds to it? With the feds lessening their participation in local transportation that would only create an unmet need elsewhere. Also, any fares redirected to biking fees only increases the MTA deficit. There will be greater competition for scarcer dollars.

Of course, they do have to sort out that mess in Canada. It could sink our only supplier. Also, what was that $4.7 million payment to the Montreal PR
firm for? Investors don't like unanswered questions about new 'partners' and unpaid liabilities. You heard Barclay's in London won't renew their sponsorship for the 'BorisBikes', and no one else is stepping up to grab it?

So there will be a lot of late night discussions over at NYCDOT right after they've figured out VISION ZERO. Maybe another tax on the wealthy?

Feb. 24 2014 04:46 PM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

I have always found it so interesting how those such as the bike zealots tend to be black and white on issues. This is exactly why groups such as Transportation Alternatives or even a grassroots organization such as Streetsblog can't find those who aren't as extreme as they are. It's very easy to support a bike share rack when it's not in front of your property let alone not in your neighborhood, which is what leads to NIMBYs in the first place. As for Petrosino Square, try to telling this to the SoHo Alliance, because they will claim otherwise on that. Meanwhile, you may not like the rules, but they are there and they must be followed. Until you start showing responsibility, you will start earning the respect, and then the rules can change, but acting like victims to them will only ask for more crackdowns on your kind. Just because bicycles don't produce emissions, doesn't give you an excuse to flout traffic laws, and it creates a double standard when telling others to follow them when you don't yourself. Personally, I don't feel that bicycles need a special infrastructure to get around when following the traffic laws can assure safety rather than acting like someone who is on some high horse and feeling that they are above all others. In the end, I do feel that funding should go towards the transportation that is used much more rather than less. In all honesty, transit riders going to bicycles isn't going green, and it's actually hurts the MTA. Even with a business saying that they will help with this program, they are just there to collect the profits from the naming rights, but still feels that the taxpayers should be footing the bill for the most part when they were originally told not to while they can just avoid them, which I find ironic for someone who claims to be liberal, because I oppose this greatly. Of course some cyclists will be flouting the laws just to get to the next rack before time is up or they will be charged for being late. In reality, it's not the use of bicycles that bothers me, it's the attitude expressed by the bike zealots that I hate. I do drive a lot, but I don't say that I'm above all others, plus I follow a lot more rules than you and all and your bike zealot friends do combined. To quote Confucius, "Respect is something one must earn, not demand." On a side note, it's a real low to attack somebody especially on where they are from especially when it doesn't say locals only.

Feb. 23 2014 08:01 PM
Bronx from NYC

"I'm not anti bike" but...

Your statements claim otherwise.

Anyway, it is absolutely valid to compare NYC to other cities with similar densities. We also do not have the authority on the 24/7 lifestyle, I don't see what that has to do with cycling though. Citi Bike is conincidentally a 24/7 system, look at that!

NYC is actually a great place to encourage more cycling. It's relatively flat with some exceptions, most people only travel short distances, it's dense and predominantly zoned of mixed use.

Its transportation share should be greater. I would personally love to see a mode share hovering around 20%. That would do wonders to relive other transportation options.

Eventually you'll get tired of fighting the current. BTW, for your information, the de Blasio administration hopes to construct even more bicycle infrastructure along with the implementation of Vision Zero. Polly T is also pro bicycle/liveable streets. Why? Because that's what works. This isn't an opinion anymore, it's proven. World class cities around the world are orienting themselves in favor of the pedestrian once again.

Feb. 23 2014 06:21 PM
Bronx from NYC


A simple web search verified your relentless attacks upon bicyclist. One I truly don't understand. As a driver, you actually greatly benefit from increased bicycling. That's potentially less congestion. As someone who breaths our air, why would you oppose a mode of transportation with zero emissions. It's strange and I suspect that you are old, bitter and resistant to change. Your welcome. :)

Citibank has benefited financially from Citi Bike. That I agree with, but so what? It would be nice if they invested more money into the program but i'm not holding my breath.

I would like the city to invest some money into Citi Bike in order to accelerate expansion. There is huge demand and this system could be a game changer for many more people. Especially those along the waterfront or a distance from the nearest subway station. The monies required wouldn't have as significant an impact allocated elseware in most cases. Bicycle Share systems are very affordable which is why they are taking the world by storm. Increased bicycling also has the benefit of saving and sometimes making the city money.

The Petrosino Sq lawsuit didn't fly in court because the bicycles are technically not even located in the park and do not effect any other usage within.

And the rules, they exist. Are they fair? They're not. A huge difference between an automobile and a bicycle. The rules need to be adjusted when applied to bicycling, and fortunately, this is the direction we are headed. This goes well beyond NYC as well.

It's true that not everyone can ride a bicycle. Not everyone can drive either. And in fact, many more people are capable of riding than perceived. If you look abroad, take note of those cities where bicycling has a rather significant mode share. Not everyone is young and fit in those places. You can cover greater distance at the expense of less energy with a bicycle than walking too.

The mode share of bicycling is relatively small now, but it is increasing and should be encouraged for many more people.

As for the allocation of funds towards transit mode users. Agreed. In this city the pedestrian is king. And you think the potholes now are bad, lol. Go back to Pleasantville.

Feb. 23 2014 06:04 PM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

For the record, I'm not anti-bike nor do I have anything against those that like to use bicycles to begin with. What I'm against is how some tend to behave with them. Let's be honest for a second. The dream of making NYC bicycle utopia like Amsterdam is nothing more than a pipe dream. The population is way too dense to even have that especially when this is a city that pretty much never sleeps. Comparing NYC to some other cities around the country or even the world is apples and oranges especially when there are neighborhoods or even apartment buildings that can equal those populations. If there was a way to make the bicycle important, that would have been found at least a century ago as were cars and trains were. The most bicycles are good for is taking short trips, but that's about it. Even horses could go longer distances than bicycles could. The only reason why the bike share program get around in NYC in the first place was mainly for having friends in high places such as Bloomberg and JSK, but now that they are gone, you don't have that anymore, and de Blasio and Trottenberg do want to be more inclusive. Seriously, if you love Amsterdam or Paris so much due to bicycles, then by all means move there, because nobody will be stopping you. Overall, I'm not being pessimistic, I'm being realistic. On a side note, I have said some of this on the NY Times, and I have been thanked for knowing what's really going on.

Feb. 23 2014 05:32 PM
J. D. Crutchfield from Long Island City

We've all heard about how Citibike was set to expand into Brooklyn & Queens when Hurricane Sandy struck and ruined all those bikes. Well, that was in October of 2012. It's now February 2014, a year and four months later, and Citibike's not even willing to commit to implementing the original plan. Weren't those bikes insured? Can't Citibank cough up some interim funding? What's the hold-up?

Feb. 23 2014 05:07 PM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

Bronx, some of your statement tend to only be half truths. The only real reason why Citibank agreed to sponsor this program was to get a major tax break or write off in return, not because they cared about it, otherwise they would never do such a thing. Why else did they want to place their name on the new stadium for the Mets? It's so interesting how we always hear that the taxpayer won't be funding them, but seeing how it worked in Paris, the taxpayers were hit the hardest just to replace the bicycles that were stolen, lost, or vandalized. The same will probably happen here, and criminals will be able to find ways to do just that. As for park space, try telling that those down in SoHo who have a place for their art, but is obstructed by those racks. BTW, I wouldn't be surprised if Mark Gorton or Paul Steely White paid someone to come up with the usage in their favor especially if you try to use Streetsblog or Transportation Alternatives as your source. Still, don't give me the excuse that traffic laws on the street don't apply to bicycles because they do, and there are numerous cities and states that say just that, so quit acting like victims to the rules. The truth about giving so much tax dollars to this is that less would be spent on where it's really needed such as keeping public schools and hospitals open, which really do serve the public in much higher numbers than bicycle sharing does. More importantly, not everyone is fit to ride a bicycle, and there are weight limits to them, which is why taxpayer dollars should be spent more for transit that a strong number uses, and bicycles are still a very small number especially when you look at the US Census Bureau when it comes to commuting in NYC, plus I feel that it's best to spend it proportional to what is used more, not less. On a side note, you and your friends ganging up and using personal attacks really need to stop as with the cyber stalking. Go back to Streetsblog to spread your anti-car bias when you can feel unhindered by opposition, because they will always get censored.

Feb. 22 2014 11:04 PM
Sean Kelliher from New York, NY

I'd like to comment on the financing issue that Tal brought up.

The Velib system in Paris and the Citibike system in NYC are financed in a similar manner: a company provides a bike share system in exchange for the right to advertise in public space.

In Paris, the company is JC Decaux, an advertising company. They run the system, pay a fee to the city of Paris, and in exchange, get to use some of the city's billboards. In NYC, Citibank and Master Card pay for the system and in return get their names on the bikes and kiosks.

Velib was an early system. There was trouble with the locking mechanism on its docking stations and more bikes than expected were stolen or vandalized. Decaux asked the city of Paris to chip in money (so much for each stolen/damaged bike) and in 2009 the city agreed to do so. This amounts to several million dollars a year, which considering the size of Paris and its system (20,000 bikes) is a fairly modest sum.

Citibike uses a different locking system on its docking stations and so far theft has not been an issue. However, could the program ask the city to chip in money? It's possible. Would it be catastrophic? Probably not. The amounts involved are not extraordinary and it would likely help the system expand to serve a wider population than it currently does.

As I type this, I'm looking out the widow at the free parking lot my tax dollars help maintain. It lines both sides of my street, as well as the sides of surrounding streets, and every residential neighborhood in the city. We support this generally without question even though it has a strong negative impact on our city and a high barrier of entry that most residents cannot or choose not to afford. A larger Citibike program would benefit the city and is available to anyone for under $100/year. The idea should not be dismissed so easily, even if we have to allocate some money for it.

Feb. 22 2014 10:07 PM
Bronx from NYC


It's also pretty obvious you don't understand bicycle share. All your arguments are false and have long been debunked.

1: The system far surpassed its expected average daily usage and annual membership. Anyone that lives in New York City understands the popularity of this program. Considering that you're not even from here, you probably just don't have a clue.

2: If someone already owns a bicycle, bicycle share can still be very useful. For instance, if you own a very expensive bike and prefer not to park it along the street. If the weather is bad during the morning, and clears up later in the day. Even unexpected trips when you don't have your own bike with you. As the network expands this will only become more evident.

3: Sponsorship is still very attractive. However, tax money for bicycle share would actually be a good thing because every cyclist is one less person on the road or in mass transit. It's relatively cheap compared to all other modes of transportation so the city could easily fund expansion.

4: There are two rules that bicyclist typically ignore. Running reds/stop sign and riding the wrong way through traffic. The problem here is that red light cycles are too long for bicycles. Cyclist also have the ability to come to a complete stop relatively rapidly and enjoy significantly greater visibility than drivers. Also, considering you need to pedal, stopping is counter productive to maintaining your pace, and its often more dangerous to cross an intersection with the light because the most common collisions are between turning drivers. Bicyclist should be authorized to yield during red lights and stop signs.

As for wrong way riding. It is dangerous due to decreased reaction times but one way streets are designed for cars.

Either way, few cyclist are injured or killed during these instances, and rarely is anyone else in any danger.

5: In Paris, the bicycles implement a different locking system significantly more susceptible to theft. NYC does not suffer from that problem, it would have long been evident.

6: Many complaints about lost park land? That is incorrect. Most docks were placed in existing no standing zones, and the bicycles that were placed in parks are an excellent method of reaching them. The one high profile lawsuit was thrown out considering the disputed land actually belong to the DOT. It was a curb extension.

7: Each bike averages a high of 7-8 uses per day.

Please keep your lies and misinformation on the Brooklyn Paper tabloid.

Feb. 22 2014 04:06 PM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

Although many will say this program will be success, I beg to differ on that claim. First of all, data can always be fudged just to make something look successful. Another thing is those who seem to glorify it so much could be paid just to say that. More importantly, if one already has a bicycle, then there is no reason for a bike share. The claim that it won't involve any taxpayer dollars is a complete myth, because once the sponsor does bad in business, the taxpayers will be forced to take them out. Let's not forget that current cyclists in NYC already don't follow the traffic laws, and adding more like that will make the streets even worse than they already are. If anyone is saying that bike share will work well, then go over to Paris where so many of those bicycles were either found to be lost or stolen, and the taxes were increased just to cover that. Also, there have been many complaints about where the racks go especially in front of residential property while some of them took over small parks. One other thing, when it's not weather permitting there is a good chance that they will go unused for most of the day making them feel like a waste of money and space.

Feb. 22 2014 11:55 AM
Julia from Inwood, NYC

I hope Citibike expands uptown! We are part of the city, too! I live in Inwood and would love the option to cycle along the Greenway, that now extends all the way up here.

Feb. 21 2014 06:07 PM

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