WHEN DOES THE UPPER WEST SIDE GET CITIBIKES? EVENTUALLY…


The bike share station at 58th and Broadway. So close, yet so far…

Citibike, the city’s short-term bike rental network, is the hot new thing in the city this summer. But like many hot new things, it’s not on the Upper West Side.

We’ve seen people Citi-biking through the neighborhood, but there’s nowhere to dock the bikes, so they have to return them to a downtown station. That, of course kind of defeats the purpose of a service meant for commuters. Currently, the closest stations are located on 59th street and 11th avenue, 59th and 10th and 60th and Broadway, according to the Citibike station map. There are more than 300 stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

So we’ve been asking the city: When does the Upper West Side get CitiBike? And when are the meetings to determine where exactly the stations should go?

“While there is not a timeline for the expansion of Citi Bike to portions of Manhattan north of 59th St., we are working to bring bike share to those neighborhoods, as well as others in Brooklyn and Queens, as soon as possible,” A DOT spokesman wrote back.

We asked if the stations would be placed incrementally, meaning the DOT could add one or two at a time instead of waiting to review and then place dozens in the neighborhood.

The reply: “While a handful of stations are located just north of 59th St., that is the primary northern boundary. No other details on the potential options for system expansion at this point.”

Gale Brewer also sent the letter below to the DOT, but hasn’t heard back.

Citibike is not universally loved — the DOT angered some people by placing the docking stations in spots that locals didn’t like. And there have been consistent technical issues, including problems placing the bikes back into their docks. But the program has spurred lots of interest, and seems like a good commuting alternative. As of last week, about 45,000 people had purchased annual memberships, which cost $95 plus taxes (you can also buy daily and weekly passes). Are you excited about CitiBike? Take our poll below.

Are you excited about CitiBike?

View Results

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Sadik-Khan, Janette 2013-06-11 Bike Share Stations – FINAL

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 25 comments | permalink
    1. Ben says:

      Just waiting for the predictable barrage of velophobic comments from the entitled, ill-tempered, and uninformed.

    2. J says:

      If you have a Citi checking or credit card and use it to pay your membership fee, you get $15 back.

    3. Peter says:

      Well here’s one for you Ben… I hate these damn bike stations and I surely don’t want one in front of my building. Just what we need…in addition to the delivery bike menace, there will be 100s of amateur bicyclists without helmets to look out for. I don’t get the whole concept but I appear to be in the minority so…

      • Jeff says:

        Peter, I hear ya when it comes to aesthetics, but the impact of extra cyclists on the road is minimal – my Union Square office is literally right next to a huge Citi Bike rack, and during my daytime strolls, maybe one person will pedal by on a Citi Bike, if that.

    4. I really love the Citibike program what a wonderful think for NY City and i am waiting for the expansion to UWS , well done NYC!!!!V

    5. Tom D says:

      How can the city sanction a program like this and not require and provide helmets? Just makes no sense! I’m just waiting for the first tourist who rents one of these things to be injured or killed riding thru the streets and then we’ll see what the reaction is. Here come the lawsuits against the city, Citi and maybe even the driver. Hope I’m wrong!
      It would also be great if that 45 minute limit were increased. Yeah, I know, you can put it back and take it out again but it would sure be nice to think one could take a more leisurely ride around Central Park, for example, and not be hit by the huge penalties for a late return.

      • Maria says:

        I have to agree with Tom D. and, Ben, I am not velophobic. The extra bikes on the street AND THE SIDEWALK make me, a pedestrian, cringe. Our access to sidewalks has already been seriously encroached upon by delivery men on bikes, and now more people who think it’s absolutely OK to cruise along on the sidewalk.

        • DAK says:

          You people do realize that there are many successful bicycle sharing systems around the world and the model has been proven effective and beneficial in almost all areas. They all face the same issues the NYC Citibike program faces but it hasn’t stopped them from persevering and ultimately end up being successful.

      • Worry not! A) There are many free helmet programs associated with this. The DOT keeps announcing them. B) More than a million miles traveled so far with only minor incidents. Will someone eventually be killed? Sure. You can also easily get killed by a drunk driver at 8 a.m. just from standing on a street corner. But a million miles is enough to draw statistics, and this is surprisingly safe. C) While for any individual wearing a helmet is a good idea (and I always wear one), it is a terrible public health policy to enforce one, since that dramatically diminishes bike use, and many studies have shown that the overall public health effect of increased bike use is many times greater than the risk of biking without a helmet.

        • Cato says:

          Perhaps, but it’s even safer to wear a helmet *without* biking.

          Especially if the helmet is lined with tinfoil……

    6. Cato says:

      Why not just arrange to have a bike station placed in front of every Citibank?

      That would remove all objections about having stations blocking anyone else’s access to the street, and would end up putting a bike station on every third or fourth block.

      And certainly Citibank, the proud, bold sponsor of this program, couldn’t possibly object to planting a bike station in front of each and every one of their business locations.

      Now, could they??

      Only if they wanted to be labeled “velophobes”, I suppose……

    7. Erica says:

      You can put one right in front of my building on Broadway! Would be more than happy to have it. I’m from NYC, but have lived in Europe. NYers want to claim the rights to everything. Get over it. Biking improves a lot of things, health being one of them.

    8. Some Dude says:

      I hate to think it’ll take years for them to end up on the UWS. At the very least there should be a station by the Museum of Natural History. They could replace a few parking spaces by the bike lane in front of the museum on CPW. It would make museum visits very convenient, and provide easy entry to the park as well.

      I’ve been taking the B/C to 59th just so I can ride to work on a Citibike…there are tons of stations in Midtown. It’s been a fantastic way to commute.

    9. mr westy says:

      Sad but true – lots of little minded people can’t handle change, even something as minor and benign as a few bike racks. But they will adapt their thinking after they are finished with their pathetic whining.

    10. jerry says:

      The late and lamented Stephen J. Gould said it perfectly…it’s not always evolution…it can be devolution. Sure, give away 1/6th of Manhattan’s streets (and how much is that per square foot?) to the bikes. And on a rainy day or a wintry day, where are they? Not to be seen, because who wants to be wet or chilled to the bone? Personally, I like bikes (I have one now – my fourth – and two motorcycles and a few cars), but let them find their own level, not one promoted by the “ideal society” zealots. Who also promote those 3 wheeled Rube Goldberg “Rickshaws”…while every poor pedaler in Thailand is saving up for four.

    11. Richard says:

      It’s crazy to have so many bike stations out there. It’s bad enough having the crazy restaurant delivery people riding without any concern for traffic rules. These bikers don’t have to wear helmets, and I guarantee there will be many biker fatalities out there, as well as injuries to other pedestrians caused by bikers.

    12. K says:

      Tried it out for the first time today and LOVED IT! Had to get rid of my own rarely-used bike several years ago when my husband moved into my studio apartment (and no bike storage/parking in my building). Luckily I’m only 10 blocks from 59th st so a quick walk gets me to to a docking station.
      Rode to the West Village for dinner and rode back home. Must have seen 50+ people on citibikes while riding along the Hudson bike path. Every one seemed to be enjoying it!
      Yes, I have a helmet, and I agree that there should be more helmet encouragement. I thnk the lights are an even more important safety issue-hate when bikers with no lights come seemingly out of nowhere when i am driving or walking.
      The bikes state on them that riding on the sidewalk is not allowed. It is illegal for anyone over age 12 to ride on the sidewalk in NYC, so if you see someone doing it, you can nicely & politely tell them sidewalks are for pedestrians, and if they choose to bike, they have to ride in the street or use bike paths.
      It is also poor bike manners to ride opposite to traffic-wrong way on a one-way street is a big no-no. I keep a car in the city and I HATE it when bikers ride against traffic, so when biking I try to take drivers’ feelings & safety into account, and when driving, I try to take bikers’ feelings & safety into account.
      They are PUBLIC roads, we have to share!

    13. NikFromNYC says:

      If you really want to reduce harm, objectively, being pedantic about helmet use isn’t prudent due to the significant link between the human ability to actively avoid accidents through awareness and healthy anxiety that helmet-free riding affords. That current helmet designs fail to properly cover the actual back of the head where the spine attached to the skull means that the vastly increased feeling of being protected from injuries can and does lead to more instead of less severe accidents. To reduce harm you would need to study all-cause fatality as well, especially since an uptight attitude itself stresses you out enough to quench your immune response, slow your digestive ability to clear ingested carcinogens, and causes thousands of heart attacks a year in this Type A city. You would need to study helmets specifically within this program too, in this city, and then wonder if nanny state solution may in fact very much harm those who, by temperament, come alive in flowing air so much that a helmet simply fights their *natural* ability to fully engage with the sensory sphere around them. Ironic effects are the rub of rules.

    14. Scooter Stan says:

      Re: “…But like many hot new things, itโ€™s not on the Upper West Side.”

      I dunno about that! Personally I’ve observed LOTS of ‘hot new things’ on the UWS. Try Trader Joe’s after 6:00 p.m.

      Also, they seem to hang out after dark.

      Gee, hope those are not vampires!

      ๐Ÿ™‚

    15. K8 says:

      I would LOVE to see Citibikes in my neighborhood. I own my own bike, but I do NOT trust locking it outside for fear that it will be stripped of various parts. There are plenty of times when I could get from point A to point B much faster on a bike than walking or taking the bus or subway, but point B is not conducive to bringing my bike in with me. Citibike would be great for errands!

      As for taking it for joy rides around Central Park: that is not what it is intended for. These bikes are intended for commuters. There are other bike rental companies for tourists and anyone else who just wants to rent a bike for a few hours at a time. I’m all for the 45 minute time limit, otherwise the bikes will be monopolized by vacationers and less available for commuters.

    16. DMH says:

      I can’t wait for them! What a life-changer – for the better – it will be, for us residents and for the local businesses which will be so much more easily accessible.

      I get uncomfortable with “delivery bike menace” talk. These guys are out there every day, in dangerous conditions, doing their jobs. We should have better and safer infrastructure for them. Delivery by bike is definitely a service that many UWSers appreciate and enjoy using.

      Also, any update on the Columbus Ave bike lane? We need this! The Business Improvement District’s own website has a (somewhat old, 2007) presentation with its vision for Columbus Ave, and their on-the-street survey of people shopping found that only 2 (two!) percent had driven a car to the store.

      • AC says:

        DMH: The Columbus extension is coming eventually.

        I also heard there was a campaign to get a similar redesign of Amsterdam Ave.

        The UWS needs a complete circuit of protected lanes, so Amsterdam would be perfect for that.

        • JP says:

          I agree that Amsterdam could use a bike lane. The Columbus one is only for going south, so it only makes sense that Amsterdam has a bike lane that goes north. I also like how its separated from the street, which makes it much safer.

          Please put a Citi bike station on 87th and Amsterdam. Plenty of room on any corner. I could care less about people losing parking spaces – who needs a car in Manhattan? If you’re wealthy enough to own a car and pay rent in this city, then you ought to have enough money for a monthly parking garage pass.

    17. Pat says:

      Yep and before you know it the bikers will be riding on the side walks, just like the delivery bikes. What ever the percentage of people hit by bikes per year should double now. Just another smart money making deal.