Those anxious to cruise through Midtown Manhattan on a sweet city-sanctioned ride will have to curb their enthusiasm just a bit longer. New Yorkers proud to call one of the most cycle-friendly cities in the country home have been anxiously awaiting the launch of a new bike share program. After suffering a delay earlier this year, the New York City bike share program will not begin until May 2013, according to the city’s Transportation Department. The start date has been postponed because of equipment damage sustained during Hurricane Sandy.
This is not the first time the city has pushed back the opening of the pedal-program. The program’s postponement in August was due to faulty software. Following the hiccup, the city announced the initiative would feature 7,000 bikes available at 420 stations by March of 2013. Originally, the city planned to expand to 10,000 bikes and 600 stations by summer of that same year, but the surge of Hurricane Sandy made those plans a wash. The warehouse storing the equipment, located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, took on “several feet of water,” said city transportation commissioner Janette Sadiq-Kahn. She added that, given the amount of issues the storm has caused, a spring launch is still excellent news.
In the wake of the storm, the program scaled back its scope yet again, promising at least 5,500 bikes and 293 stations by this spring. Though a timeline for an expansion to 10,000 bikes has yet to be announced, officials hope to get up to 7,000 by the end of 2013. Initially, bikes and stations will be grouped in some of the city’s more populated areas – Midtown, Lower Manhattan, and sections Brooklyn – before rolling out to other neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens to fill service gaps.
While the program is new to the Big Apple, it’s old hat for plenty of other metropolises. The bike share program has been implemented in several cities worldwide, from Paris to Melbourne to Chattanooga. The formula is fairly straightforward. A sturdy, difficult-to-steal cycle may be borrowed from hubs throughout the city using a credit card or membership. Unlike typical bike rental facilities, which require users to return vehicles to the spot of rental, shared bikes may be deposited at any hub throughout the city. The program’s aim is to cut down on traffic congestion, while also promoting green and healthy living.