Docking stations were removed from a Citi Bike rack on Riverside Drive between 77th and 78th Street. Photo by Margot Rosenberg.

The Department of Transportation has shifted some Citi Bike stations in the neighborhood in order to create new bike docks in spots that didn’t have them. But some locals were confused when the stations they tend to use were suddenly short-handed. Margot Rosenberg said several docking stations were removed from the site on Riverside Drive between 77th and 78th Street.

They took out twenty bikes,” she wrote. “This is a really popular site and all of the bikes are usually taken during the morning commute.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation wrote that the docks were moved so they could reallocate the network of bikes. After complaints about a lack of bike density in the neighborhood, the city and Motivate, which runs the program, decided to add stations on Amsterdam between 78th and 79th, and on Amsterdam between 65th and 66th.

“Dock reallocation and the associated infill stations creates a higher density of stations by making existing stations slightly smaller and adding additional stations to a neighborhood. Overall station density and network connectivity are critical in ensuring equal access to stations.”

It does seem strange that they’re determined to keep the same number of total bikes, instead of simply adding new stations while keeping current stations fully stocked (particularly when those current stations had already been running out of bikes quickly at peak times.)

NEWS | 46 comments | permalink
    1. Len Mac says:

      It is the dumbest thing to remove the bikes from Riverside Drive and move them to Amsterdam. Riverside Drive is closest to the riverside bike path. Stupid

      • Jay says:

        Amsterdam Ave is closer to where people live. So, not a dumb move at all.

        I wish they had just added a station rather than move the bikes to another location.

    2. shemp says:

      should take them all out

      • Richard says:

        Exactly the answer I would expect from a Stooge

      • AnDee says:

        Because, obviously, they’re an amenity that no one uses – hence people’s frustration about not finding bikes or open docking stations.
        Or are you just unwilling to recognize that they’re here to stay because they’re quite popular for any number of reasons (easy exercise, easy to get around, faster than cabs, bus, subway, etc)?

    3. josh says:

      Unfortunately, Citibike on the UWS has been a victim of its own success. Its is impossible to find an available bike north of 86th street after 9:00 AM. I literally have to rush out of my apartment early to get one in time. They refuse to move bikes from midtown to the outermost areas during the day, holding them at the valet stops for the after-work commute at 5-7 PM (I routinely see them literally holding back dozens of bikes on 43rd and 6th, taking them out of rotation all day). I would presume it is the same for many Brooklyn spots as well. There are plenty of folks who need to use the bikes during the day outside of midtown/downtown… Citibike needs to recirculate the bikes better..

      • anon says:

        If they recirculate the bikes isn’t it a net negative for the environment? I would think most NYers finding an empty bike rack take a bus or subway. Fewer take a cab/Uber/Via. Nobody decides to take their own car. Do similar services have to do this in other cities?

        • B.B. says:

          Have seen those trucks “recirculating” Citibike stations along CPW only late at night/overnight.

          Daytime moving around of bikes could pose a problem. That is if you move to restock bikes at stations say from 57th to 96th during the day; what happens if those bikes don’t move and then the reverse commuters start coming back after work. Where are they going to dock their rides?

          Saying that Citibike *should* have a bike available during peak demand times is like requiring a car rental place to do the same under same conditions. Which as anyone knows who has tried to rent a car say on a summer weekend or for Thanksgiving holiday at last minute knows is not going to happen.

          Someone that wants to make certain they have access to a bike for their daily commute 100% of the time needs to purchase their own. NYC has leaned hard on both commercial and residential building owners to force their properties to be bike friendly, ride the wave.

      • DenMark says:

        You can’t reasonably expect CitiBike to have a bike available for your daily commute (and all other bike inclined commuters). The system is not designed to replace subway trips from the UWS to midtown (or beyond). One subway train can carry over a thousand people. Citibike has <15,000 bikes (and far less on the UWS). CitiBike could restock the racks, but to what end? Citibike can't win the battle to re-supply the bike racks – the IRT Broadway picks up more than 100,000 people between 72nd and 96th every day. In round numbers, say 5% have commutes that CitiBike could replace – that is more than 5,000 bike trips for this small slice of the UWS where the bikes are leaving the neighborhood in the morning and returning 8-9 hours later. The system is simply not scaled/designed to replace the subway – it is meant for trips within the neighborhood, or perhaps the first/last mile of your commute. If they rushed to restock, more people would use it, and you would still have empty stations. (or full stations at night) CitiBike, reluctantly I’m sure, provides valet service in midtown because of the sheer concentration of offices, but they could not valet park enough bikes for even a small fraction of people to commute via CitiBike instead of public transit. If you want to reliably commute via CitiBike, you will have to do so at odd hours.

        If biking to work is viable for you, I recommend getting your own bike (which I do). I have a CitiBike membership, but it not my daily commute plan. I use it on weekends (most convenient use is cross town to UES and vice versa) around town, or errands during the day. At less than $13 a month for a membership, I still get value out of it even if I only use it a handful of times a month (one less cab/subway ride here or there). And occasionally, when I have other plans after work, I get up a little earlier and CitiBike to the office so I don’t have to worry about my bike (or if rain is forecasted in the afternoon, etc.). And carrying my bike up/down three flights of stairs daily is an added workout bonus.

        • josh says:

          Well, exactly. Thats the point. People who need the bikes on the UWS (and similar other neighborhoods) during the day — to do errands, ride crosstown, etc. — can’t, because all the commuters to midtown/downtown take them and CitiBike keeps a bulk there to ensure they are available for after-work commuters. I joined CitiBike mainly so I could use it to ride to the subway in the morning (a 10 minute walk) and do errands during lunch hour. But the system seems to have evolved into a system geared for commuting. Thats just my experience and observation.

    4. carol mills says:

      I am disabled and they are taking away all parking spaces. They should be put on sidewalk on 95th st and 96th st at
      Central Park West and on 95th and Columbus. There is plenty of room on the sidewalk

    5. Not so easy rider says:

      The problem still exists that after 10 am there are virtually no bikes available on the upper west side – there is no provision for re-stocking docks. So, if you’re not part of the early morning commute, good luck finding a bike until after 5 pm.

    6. Joe Lichtig says:

      There are now a lot of these bike places north of 98th St. As a street parker I am concerned at the fewer parking spots available.

    7. Jamie says:

      I was bummed to see them removed from 90th and Amsterdam. :^(
      Bring back the CitiBikes!

    8. Carol says:

      They installed 47 racks on 89th Street near the corner of Columbus and except for one Saturday morning about 4 weeks ago the rack is empty. They took away 7 parking spaces and there are never more than 5 or 6 bikes there at the end of the day and zero during the day.
      Is the DOT monitoring these stations to see if they are productive?

      • robert says:

        Supposedly yes they do, through the company.
        But even after the new management took over and all the promises the company has no profit. They are actually losing $$$ on every ride.
        Since they are now selling ad space on the kiosks and the bikes in lower man. Take look around Union Square & NYU. Sooner or later Citibike will need a large and steady revenue stream from the taxpayers of the city, or they will have to greatly increase the fees the charge.

        This bundgle was “sold” to the city council and the people of the city on the basis that it wouldn’t cost the city a dime. Lets keep it that way. Any other private biz that starts up and can’t figure out a way to make a profit goes bust.
        Rather than spending to bail out a private LLC how about that money go to fixing the existing streets and sidewalks, not the just 2 or 3% of people who use bikes to commute.

        • Jay says:

          robert, care to back up any of this with facts?

          Here are some for you… Citibike costs the taxpayers zero. The only funding it receives is from advertisements and bike rentals.

        • knowledgeable one says:

          I recommend $200.00 per month memberships.

        • EagleEye says:

          The NYC DOT budget was over $800mm for 2016. All you car owners please send me a check for the street parking spots I pay to maintain. You are leeches on the majority of New Yorkers who do not own cars.

          • Scrat Mandoo says:

            EagleEye – not helpful. First, street paving is not just for personal vehicles – it also allows buses and taxis to operate. Should we get rid of those? Even if you say yes, wouldn’t you want to maintain the streets for bikes? And how about the street signs and signals? Even in the absence of any personal cars, maintaining an orderly system for roads that could have millions of bikes is a good idea.

            Second, DOT doesn’t just deal with roads. DOT is responsible for the Staten Island ferry. Are you in favor of getting rid of that? Maybe Staten Islanders should be paying people who live in every other borough. And what about the 788 bridges that DOT maintains? DOT doesn’t charge tolls, so the operating costs for that need to come from somewhere. Except for the Bronx, the rest of New York City sits on islands…

            Third, and perhaps most important, is that DOT maintains almost 13,000 miles of sidewalks (compared to only 6,000 miles of roads). Maybe you think people that walk more should pay more?

            Regardless of your thoughts on any of these issues, your $800mm number is highly flawed. Provide data on how much is spent exclusively on maintaining street parking, or don’t chime in at all.

    9. Mark Moskow says:

      I’ll be cancelling my subscription when it expires. It was hard enough before but now I can’t get a bike any more to go to work. Back to the subway.

    10. the_the says:

      Dumb, dumb, dumb.

      Add more stations and more bikes, don’t reduce the number of bikes at each station!

      If a bakery runs out of bread everyday at one location, they don’t ship bread from that location to another store – they hire more bakers and buy more ovens.

      Hopefully they keep the parking spots blocked off so they can easily put docking stations back.

      • HelenD says:

        “If a bakery runs out of bread everyday at one location, they don’t ship bread from that location to another store – ”

        Actually they do.

      • RK says:

        You’re assuming that Motivate has unlimited resources. They don’t. Bikes and docks are expensive.

        I don’t know exactly what their finances are, but they are going through a major expansion (including UWS). Given the lower density than the rest of the city, I assume they’re spreading the money more thinly, and making do with what they have.

        I assume that most UWS users (not near the parks!) are annual passholders, so there’s not necessarily a high correlation between adding more facilities and increasing cashflow.

        Personally I would be fine if they hike the yearly fee in exchange for greater density.

        Instinctively, I get annoyed at tourists joyriding Citibikes in the park when they should be renting bikes, but then I realize that they’re paying day rates, and probably forgetting about the 30 minute time limit, so they’re effectively subsidizing my yearly pass. Then I think of them hitting the big hill in Central Park on those 50lb beasts and smile a little bit.

    11. Lynn says:

      Put them on sidewalk. Cars need equal access!

      • Alta says:

        Actually, they don’t. On the upper west side less then 25% of households even own a car. That means it’s probably under 10% of the residents. City wide that stat is still well under 50%.

        In the space that it takes to store a few personal vehicles, you can create a service that gets used by hundreds of people a week. Seems like a reasonable trade to me.

        • dannyboy says:

          It appears to me that CitiBike is substituting for mass transit. I believe that there needs to be investment in mass transit.

          The knock-on effect of this is that Citibike has become transport to work, pushing out the recreational and social uses.

          but if there’s money being made or money being saved…well

          • bobby says:

            It isn’t meant for recreational and social purposes. Its meant to get around more easily from point A to point B, for short-ish trips where public transportation isn’t useful, economical or available. If someone wants a recreational or social ride, either buy or rent for a day or a few hours a bike for that purpose.

            • dannyboy says:

              against All social activities or just biking?

            • B.B. says:

              Excuse me? Citibike is only for commuting purposes not recreational or social? That is news to one and scores of others one sees in Central Park, and or biking all over Manhattan for pleasure or purpose.

              See nothing on their website about Cibibikes only being used for commuting purposes.


          • B.B. says:

            No, not in the least.

            There has been a huge push beginning with Bloomberg’s administration and continued under the current to promote cycling in all forms. To wit the bike lanes, changes in laws mandating bike storage for residential and commercial buildings, etc….

            Citibike got off to a rough start under Bloomberg but seems to have grown and taken hold in the past three years.

            New York City is very far behind other world class cities in Europe and elsewhere when it comes to promoting biking for both commuting and pleasure. Even with the expanded Citibike presence along with aforementioned laws/rules mass transit in NYC is under no real threat.

            However it is rather good to see streams of persons commuting via Citibike along CPW, Columbus, and along Hudson River.

        • Scrat Mandoo says:

          The problem, Alta, is that no trade-off is taking place. Citi bike use doesn’t reduce personal car ownership or use, it reduces public transit use. Residents frequently have cars so they can travel, often out of the city – where neither public transit nor Citi bikes are convenient. The same is true for commuters coming into the city for work or recreation – no access points at one end of the trip.

          Because there is no real trade-off taking place, Citi bike actually increases pollution and congestion; the reductions in available parking lead to increases in the time and energy required to find a parking spot.

          Getting rid of personal cars is still not an option for most people. Until Citi bike stations are set up at high density at every non-NYC location that people are coming from, and until public transit improves to areas like the Catskills and the Adirondacks, there will be no improvement in traffic.

          • Jay says:

            Citibike increases pollution…? That’s some real twisted logic you have there.

            Please provide some facts about your statements. There are facts that show public transportation use is higher than ever and air pollution is lower than any time in modern history. So, that doesn’t exactly match your twisted logic.

      • RK says:

        Put them on the street. SUV Double Strollers need equal access!

        • B.B. says:


          Yes, use “mass transit” all the time. Your post stated it was under attack or whatever from CitiBike, which just isn’t true.

          If anything biking has taken some small load off mass transit, especially the buses.

          • dannyboy says:

            to clarify –

            I wrote: “It appears to me that CitiBike is substituting for mass transit. I believe that there needs to be investment in mass transit.”

            By this I did not mean that bike riders were doing anything intended to reduce mass transit. My point is that the funders of mass transit are willing to have biking offload the mass transit requirement, and use that as an opportunity to reduce funding.

    12. RK says:

      I heard that Citibike was planning to create a rebalancing program whereby people who rode bikes from dense areas to light areas would get some sort of credit. Like reverse surge pricing. I think it’s an absolutely brilliant idea. You could have an app which shows rides which would qualify for the credit at any point in time. Reduces/removes the need for trucks to rebalance the bikes.

    13. mary says:

      i hope they get rid of the ones on my street. ridiculous.

      • Alta says:

        NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY!!!!!!

        I don’t personally need the sidewalk in front of my house to be wheelchair accessible? I suppose you would also argue that I should try and have that removed?

    14. Kari Jo Cates says:

      I hope they will increase the number of bikes and docks overall on the West Side; it’s a very popular and helpful program.

    15. Hillary says:

      Will the spaces go back to parking spots on riverside and 77th???