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.

NEWS | 23 comments | permalink
    1. Is this really the most important thing we need Federal money for? I am happy this is a success. The illegal riding on the sidewalk and not following traffic laws is not being dealt with. Do we really need to put the cycle before the illegality is cleared up. Ms. Brewer usually works on the fun things on the Upper West Side but as far as the shelters go, which she and Linda Rosenthal can both take credit for due to their shortsighted closing of the European Hostels, she is a missing participant. Now she has moved up to Borough President there will be more fun in the streets but nothing of any import.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        Leonard, you regard the mandatory paid sick days legislation and the Open Data laws — both initiated and passed by Brewer — as “nothing of any import”?

        Gale Brewer won election so overwhelmingly in a closely contested race because of her well-deserved reputation as a substantive and effective leglislator.

    2. Steve says:

      Ah – so if Citibank doesn’t want to actually build out a full “CITY” worth of bikes, if this goes through I expect a full rename of the system north of 59th street. No reason they should get the free advertising and name recognition…

    3. NikFromNYC says:

      Manhattan’s own video genius Casey Neistat made a personal clip on his eventual love of CityBikes:

    4. Ken says:

      The City made a serious error, in my opinion, by not making a phased-in 100% build-out part of the contract at the onset. So now federal funding for bikes? Perfect – welcome to the start of De Blasio World.

    5. Katey says:

      The city should rename the program and add additional non-branded bikes. Perhaps DeBlasio can approach the Bloomberg charitable giving people. I hear Bloomberg supports bikes for the city plus he lives above 59th st.

    6. denton says:

      Well one practical problem is that one you install bike stations uptown they will be used to commute. This will put more load on the stations in midtown. There will not be enough stations to park the commuting bikes. It will end up costing a lot of money to figure this out.

    7. jules says:

      Please dont bring more bikes to the UWS. I am terrified of bikes always on the wrong side of the street… No police action or monitoring. Almost got killed by one running the lights at the crossroads of 72nd and Broadway. A friend saw a bunch of people leaving the bars on the lower east side and all got onto bikes. Madness.
      Why this insanity? If you dramatically reduce cars, I could see it, but that aint gonna happen. Ridiculous. No idea why we need them.. we’ve got a decent subway system to get around on. If you want to exercise, join a gym!

      • We could reduce car traffic with congestion pricing for cars below 86th Street. If de Blasio can push this through, an expanded bike program would be all the safer.

    8. Steve says:

      Good on Gale!

    9. pjrod says:

      Mandatory Paid Sick Days??? Just more liberal crap designed to give free stuff to lazy people. Surely will be abused.

      If we never get a “Citibike” on the UWS, I will be one happy resident.

      • Sami Beth Cohen says:

        Have you never gotten sick? Or taken a sick day? I guess insufferable, judgmental assholes have great immune systems. Seriously, break down your point of view here. Salaried workers get mandatory paid sick days, but hourly workers don’t deserve this because…why? Because they aren’t important enough? I’d like to see you tell me to my face that I’m lazy. I’m putting myself through graduate school and it would be nice to know that if I get sick this winter, I can still pay my rent and afford to go to the doctor. It’s easy to sit behind your computer and be a judgmental asshole but I have a feeling you’d be far less likely to express that opinion to the person who makes your coffee or sells you your Christmas presents.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          wow Sami Beth… great comeback. props to you! I am so glad I’m not the only one on the site taking on the right wing schmucks any more. they represent a small minority of people on the UWS but for some reason seem to flock to this site with their noxious and often bigotted comments.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          I wonder… who ARE the people? are they all Wall Street types? i don’t want to jump to conclusions…

    10. denton says:

      “Salaried workers get mandatory paid sick days, but hourly workers don’t deserve this because…why?”

      How do you figure that? The new law treats all employees the same, unless they work for an employer with less than either 20 or 15 employees. Before the new law, there was no such law mandating sick days for salaried workers.

      And why not be more polite?

      • Sami Beth Cohen says:

        You’re concerned with my manners but I assure you they are in excellent form. Also, I wasn’t talking to you. You’re missing my point entirely.

    11. Anthony says:

      Citibike is the best thing to come to NYC in a long time. End of Story…

    12. Scooter Stan says:


      In all the above points of view, absolutely NO ONE blamed Mayor Bloomberg for ANYTHING!

      Must be the holiday spirit of good will.

      Probably temporary though.


      • westSider says:

        Scooter , perhaps already the nostalgia for Bloomberg is setting in? the reality of the potentially disastrous new extremist mayor is now a reality.

        lets also point out the sad fact that only 22.6% of the city voted in the election – and a tiny fraction of that really decide in the democratic primary in this 6 to 1 democrat city.

        Hardly a “mandate” for anything.

        At the city level we need non partisan elections so that the machine politics and the tiny minority of primary voters does not continue to decide who runs New York.

    13. Liza says:

      Keep CitiBike out of the UWS. There are too many cyclists already not obeying traffic laws. We don’t need more. I work in midtown near several racks and it’s scary. Cyclists running lights, riding on sidewalks. I’d like to be able to walk around my neighborhood running my errands safely.

    14. MR96 says:

      The city could fund this yesterday if they fined bike riders for not following traffic laws such as riding on the sidewalks etc. It would be millions…..

    15. Danny says:

      Citibike is the best thing that can happen to the uws. I’d prefer used citibike instead of taken the god-forsaken m-96 (slower than a chicken) or the m104. People complain that they will cause more accidents even though no one has does yet using them. These bikes will be great for out neighborhood and we should embrace it when it comes