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Posts from the Bike Sharing Category


5 Highlights From Last Night’s Bike-Share vs. Parking Meeting

A dense network of stations is what makes bike-share work so well in these Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Last night’s Brooklyn Community Board 6 bike-share forum lacked the fireworks of previous meetings — no physical threats this time. While the tone was civil, the demands from the anti-bike-share crowd weren’t exactly reasonable.

So far, Citi Bike has proven incredibly popular in CB 6, with some stations getting as much as seven rides per dock each day. That’s a lot more activity than the average free car parking spot ever sees.

Opponents said they would be fine with the bike-share stations if they didn’t occupy curb space that previously served as free car storage. They suggested the docks be moved onto sidewalks and that the station density be cut in half. But sidewalks in Park Slope and Carroll Gardens don’t have room for bike-share stations, and reducing station density would ruin the usefulness of the bike-share system. Bike-share only works well when you don’t have to walk more than a couple of minutes to reach a station.

With the room at capacity, Council Member Brad Lander live streamed the meeting for people stuck outside. The entire one-hour, 45-minute video (which amazingly does not capture the entire meeting) is available on Lander’s Facebook page. Here are the highlights:

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Bike-Share Already Getting More Use Than Park Slope’s Free Parking Spots

Citi Bike is getting a lot of use in Park Slope. Image: Viktor Geller

Citi Bike use is high and rising in Park Slope. Image: Viktor Geller

The new bike-share stations in Brooklyn south of Atlantic Avenue are getting a lot more use than your average free on-street parking space, according to recent Citi Bike data compiled by Carroll Gardens resident Viktor Geller [PDF]. Geller addressed the report to Brooklyn Community Board 6, which is holding a hearing on Thursday in response to complaints about bike-share stations replacing curbside car parking.

Citi Bike and DOT publish usage data online each month. In the neighborhoods in CB 6, stations were just installed this summer, and Geller’s data shows usage is still on the rise.

Stations in some neighborhoods are used more intensely than others. In Park Slope, it’s typical for two or three bike-share trips to begin or end at each dock each day. In Red Hook, the average is lower — more like one bike-share “event” at each dock per day. But even so, since each car parking space is equivalent to about eight bike-share docks, that means about eight bike-share trips either begin or end each day in the space one car would occupy — and that’s in the area with the least amount of use.

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Read Brad Lander’s Pitch-Perfect Statement on Bike-Share and Parking

City Council Member Brad Lander released a pitch-perfect response to complaints about bike-share and curbside parking today. Other NYC pols should take note.

Council Member Brad Lander.

Every time bike-share expands to new neighborhoods, some people get upset — mainly because the local supply of free curbside car parking shrinks by a fraction of a percent. Last week Assembly Member Dan O’Donnell, who represents the Upper West Side, demonstrated how not to respond — he validated those complaints by process-truthing and promising to “restore critical parking spaces,” as if parking for bikes that are used multiple times a day is a less productive use of curb space than storing private cars.

In Brooklyn, Community Board 6 has invited people to complain about stations they don’t like, with the expectation that DOT will move at least some of them, despite the fact that station sitings were guided by a lengthy public process.

Lander’s district overlaps with that of CB 6. A statement posted today on his web site is a remarkable example of how elected officials should communicate the value of these types of changes. Here’s an excerpt:

There are approximately 25,000-30,000 parking spots in CB6. Citi Bike has taken away 150-200 of them — about ½ of 1 percent. I know that is small comfort if several of them are right near your house. But it is also important to remember that 57% of the households in our community don’t own cars. And for every parking spot lost to Citi Bike, there are approximately 5-8 bike-share trips per day (far more times than a typical side-street parking spot would be used).

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Bike-Share Stations Don’t Usurp Parking — They Are Parking

Space hogs in Manhattan and Brooklyn are complaining about bike-share stations on neighborhood streets, and the powers that be are listening.

In a letter to DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione, Assembly Member Dan O’Donnell complained about the much-anticipated rollout of Citi Bike on the Upper West Side.

Here’s an excerpt from O’Donnell’s constituent newsletter (hat tip to Peter Frishauf), which went out Wednesday:

First, the placement of Citi Bike’s docking stations and the resulting loss of parking spaces. Secondly, the lack of community input during a rather quick implementation process.

It is my hope that we can explore alternate solutions to restore critical parking spaces, and that increased dialogue with community will be a part of that exploratory process.

O’Donnell apparently believes parking for cars should be the default use for New York City curb space. He also seems to think the extensive public process for bike-share siting, which already happened, shouldn’t count because people are now griping about parking. All this in a district where more than 75 percent of households don’t own cars.

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Expanded Citi Bike Routinely Hitting 60,000 Trips Per Day

With 67,489 trips last Wednesday, Citi Bike hit a new daily ridership peak for the ninth time this month, according to an email sent to members this morning. Riders have made 10 million Citi Bike trips so far in 2016, reaching the milestone more three months earlier than last year.

Citi Bike has broken its daily ridership record nine -- nine! -- times this month. Photo: Jon Orcutt

Citi Bike has broken its daily ridership record nine — nine! — times this month. Photo: Jon Orcutt

NYC’s bike-share system is in the middle of a three-year expansion plan, with the service area now extending up to 110th Street in Manhattan and into the Brooklyn neighborhoods between Prospect Park and the Red Hook waterfront. Record ridership should be expected as the system grows, but it’s notable just how many people use the system now. On days with good weather, notes Citi Bike, ridership is comparable to the Staten Island Ferry or the boro taxi program.

For international comparison, London’s bike-share program, which is three years older than New York’s and has more stations and bikes, has only topped 60,000 rides twice in its entire history, according to Transport for London data. Only Paris’s Velib and China’s massive bike-share systems get more ridership.

After declining in 2014, Citi Bike ridership started to turn around last summer when new ownership made a slew of improvements to the system’s hardware and software and began to add new stations.

The question now is how the city and Motivate will keep the momentum going after next year’s round of expansion in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. DOT says its goal is to bring bike-share to all five boroughs, though it has yet to provide a timetable for doing so.


Tell CB 6 and Mayor de Blasio That Bike-Share Belongs on Brooklyn Streets

Last week a bunch of people showed up at a Brooklyn Community Board 6 meeting to complain about Citi Bike, which has recently expanded into Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Gowanus, and Red Hook. Bike-share wasn’t on the agenda, but that didn’t stop one hothead from screaming in the faces of board members about the perceived threat to free on-street car parking.

It’s the same old story: People believe they are entitled to park for free on public streets, and anything that diminishes the quantity of free on-street parking is infringing on their “rights.”

You can add your name to a petition to remind officials that bike-share is a welcome transportation option for New Yorkers who live, work, and play in those neighborhoods — most of whom don’t own cars. Posted by “Citizens for Citi Bike,” the petition will be sent to CB 6, Council Member Brad Lander, Borough President Eric Adams, and DOT.

It might be a good idea to send it to City Hall as well. Asked by WNBC’s Chuck Scarborough last Friday why bike-share docks are “taking precious parking” in Brooklyn, Mayor de Blasio minced words:

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Citi Bike Expands South of Atlantic Avenue

A newly-installed Citi Bike station outside the Fifth Avenue Key Foods in Park Slope. Photo: @brooklynsja

A newly-installed Citi Bike station outside the Fifth Avenue Key Foods in Park Slope. Photo: @brooklynsja

Yesterday, Citi Bike began installing stations in the Brooklyn neighborhoods south of Atlantic Avenue and west of Prospect Park. A few stations are already operating, according to the Citi Bike station map, with a total of 73 set to go live in the area in the coming weeks.

All told there are 139 new bike-share stations coming online this year, with another batch in the pipeline for 2017.

The initial expansion map for this part of Brooklyn called for 20 stations per square mile, spreading them farther apart than the 23 per square mile in the initial Citi Bike service area. This was a problem, since longer walking distances between stations make the system less useful.

In May, DOT proposed 11 more station locations [PDF], bringing the station density in line with the rest of the system (but still short of the 28 per square mile recommended by the National Association of City Transportation Officials).

The eleven "infill" stations added by DOT after the initial station map was approved are marked in black. Image: DOT

The 11 black stations are “infill” added to the initial station map. Image: DOT

Here’s a look at a few more of the new stations that have gone in since yesterday:

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How to Build a Thriving, Equitable Bike-Share System

Bike-share has the capability to expand access to jobs and transit for communities in need of better transportation options — but only if the system is set up and operated in an equitable way. Our latest collaboration with the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) examines how to build a thriving, equitable bike-share system.

At the end of June, the Better Bike Share Conference brought together advocates, employers, and experts in the field to share ideas and strategies about how to improve access to bike-share. We interviewed a dozen leaders about what bike-share systems are doing to overcome barriers to use, and what more needs to be done.

NACTO has some great resources available for people who want to take a deeper look at issues of bike-share and equity, including papers on:

This Streetfilm features footage of nearly a dozen bike-share systems, but primarily Indego in Philadelphia, Citi Bike in New York, and Capital Bikeshare in DC. As part of the filming, I got to ride along with Black Girls Do Bike NYC for a Citi Bike tour from Bed-Stuy to Red Hook in Brooklyn — you can see more scenes from that ride in this short.


Quick Hits on Citi Bike Expansion and Manhattan Bike Lane Upgrades

Yesterday Citi Bike began its 2016 expansion, bringing new stations to Manhattan up to 110th Street and Brooklyn west of Prospect Park. We’ve got a few updates to share that didn’t make it into our earlier post on the expansion and the bike lane upgrades DOT is implementing in the new service area.

Expansion details

Citi Bike is adding 139 new stations to its network in NYC, not 121 as Streetsblog reported yesterday. Of the new stations, Citi Bike says 40 are infill stations (located either in areas that were already served by Citi Bike or in expansion zones that were slated for sparser station density in earlier versions of the plan).

In concert with the expansion, Citi Bike is offering $25 off annual memberships through August 31.

Amsterdam Avenue bike lane update

We checked in with DOT about the bike lane upgrades in the expanded bike-share service area. The Amsterdam Avenue protected bike lane between 72nd Street and 110th Street is largely complete, the agency said. Still to come are concrete pedestrian islands and changes to traffic signals, which the agency said will wrap up in early 2017, pending the completion of a separate capital project underway on the route.

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Major Citi Bike Expansion Starts Today

Citi Bike began installing a batch of 121 139 new stations this morning, kicking off a 2016 expansion phase that in Manhattan will reach up to 110th Street and in Brooklyn will extend to the neighborhoods between Red Hook and Prospect Park. All told, Citi Bike will be growing from about 470 stations and 8,000 bikes to about 590 more than 600 stations and 10,000 bikes this year.

In addition to the expansion areas, Citi Bike will be adding some infill stations in the current service area on the Upper West Side and Upper East Side, where the station density initially fell short of recommended standards. Station density is a key factor in the success of bike-share systems since it cuts down on the time users spend walking to and from stations.

The 2016 expansion is the second year of a phased, three-year plan that in 2017 is expected to extend up to 130th Street in Manhattan, further into western Queens, and into parts of Crown Heights in Brooklyn.

The new stations coming this year are shown in yellow on the Citi Bike map. Check the map to monitor when new stations are operational.

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