Oh, CitiBike, will you ever come to the Upper West Side?
The short-term bike rental system, which has more than 90,000 members, still has no stations on the Upper West Side, despite assurances from the city and the program operator that it would get here months ago. And there’s no clear sign that it is going to expand, even though it has proven popular (if sometimes glitchy) in the neighborhoods where it has been installed. A recent poll taken by bike-friendly organization Transportation Alternatives stated “Currently, Citibank (Citi Bike’s sponsor) is offering no additional funding to expand the system.”
Now Gale Brewer wants the city to ask for federal funding for the program. In the letter we posted below, she asks why the city isn’t following Chicago’s lead in requesting federal funding. This would go against the city’s goal to have it completely privately funded, but as it is now the program is inaccessible to the vast majority of city residents (also, city workers have spent hundreds of man-hours on the program, meaning it’s never really been fully privately funded). The Department of Transportation did not respond to our questions about Brewer’s letter. When we last spoke to the DOT about this, a spokesman said there was still no timeline for when the UWS would get CitiBike stations.