New York City cycle enthusiasts, the wait is finally over. After numerous delays, the Big Apple’s bike share program is slated for launch just in time for summer. The city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates they have about 10 docking stations (sans bikes) currently on the ground, with plans to install 300 stations housing 5,500 bikes by this May. Once fully implemented, Citi Bike will be one of the most extensive bike shares in the country with 600 stations and 10,000 bikes.
New York has taken cues from other major cities’ share programs, such as ones in Washington D.C. and Paris. The best part about the bike share here is that the DOT has hit the streets to speak to residents and business owners to ensure stations are placed in the best possible spots. Stations will initially be installed in neighborhoods with the most foot traffic – mostly in Manhattan and Brooklyn – to ensure the bikes get the most use. What’s more, the program is filling a void similar bike shares have missed: low usage among low-income housing and non-white residents. Citi Bike plans to install stations within one block of all NYC Housing Authority properties within the program area. Residents of those properties will receive a 40 percent discount off the $95 annual membership.
But it wasn’t always in the cards for NYC: The DOT has pumped the brakes on the bike share program twice before. In August 2012, there was faulty software, and in December 2012 the equipment was damaged during Superstorm Sandy. Since then, the DOT has remained on-pace to roll out the promised 5,500 bikes by spring 2013.
With 260 miles of bike lanes and 100+ miles of car free greenway, New York is one of the best bike cities in the country. The Citi Bike share program should be the icing on the cake for residents and tourists alike eager to roll through Central Park, glide across the Brooklyn Bridge, or just save a few bucks on public transportation. Before putting the pedal to the metal, though, it’s best to brush up on New York’s bike safety laws.