Glen and Trottenberg Predict Growth for Citi Bike, Plazas, and Bike Lanes

Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said DOT will focus on bringing pedestrian plazas to more outer borough neighborhoods like Corona, Queens. Photo of Corona Plaza: Clarence Eckerson

Two key de Blasio administration officials sounded optimistic notes today about the expansion of the bike lane network, public plazas, and bike-share.

While bike infrastructure and public space projects haven’t been high-profile de Blasio priorities, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg indicated that they intend to make progress on both fronts.

Speaking at a Crain’s real estate forum today, Glen said initial investors in Citi Bike are satisfied, despite the program’s financial troubles, and that more private financing may soon be secured to help the bike-share network expand:

Ms. Glen said that she is in the process of working with an investor team to infuse more capital into the bike share program and “get it back on the road.” There are no plans to include public funding for the program in the 2015 capital expense budget, she said.

“Citi Bike has fundamentally changed the gestalt of lower Manhattan and parks of Brooklyn,” she said.  “The mayor and I are fully committed to seeing the program expand.”

Meanwhile, Trottenberg told a New York Building Congress forum today that the challenge for DOT is keeping up with requests for pedestrian and bike improvements. Kate Hinds at WNYC reports:

“Now, my line is essentially ‘demand exceeds supply,'” said Trottenberg. “I have so many folks all over the city — elected officials, community groups, community boards — coming to me and wanting more bike lanes, wanting bike share stations, wanting plazas, wanting us to see what we can do to make their neighborhoods more livable, more walkable, and more inviting…part of my challenge now is coming up with the resources to meet the demand.”

Trottenberg said one emphasis of the plaza program will be to reach neighborhoods without well-financed Business Improvement Districts. Currently, the city relies heavily on BIDs to maintain and program plazas, but BIDs tend to be strongest in well-off neighborhoods. The non-profit Neighborhood Plaza Partnership launched last year to help plazas succeed in less affluent communities that may not be able to support a BID.

  • BBnet3000

    Lets hope we can get back to 2007 levels of protected bike route building and beyond.

    Its the only way we’re going to make cycling successful in New York.

  • Anxiously Awaiting Bikeshare

    Cycling is successful in New York. I am not about to put up a “Mission Accomplished” banner as we certainly need more infrastructure, but it has become a far more popular transit mode.

  • anon

    Would love Citibike stations on the UES. Relieve the crowded 4,5,6 trains during work commutes to midtown and wall street. I noticed that a lot of the Citibikes have saddles that are cracked from the winter. Any insight into this?

  • StepUpAndSaySomething

    The bike share is really useful in busy areas, but it would be a life saver in the “last mile” areas that are under served but the current transportation options. If you need to wait half an hour for a bus, a bike ready to bring you home would be really helpful. We need a city wide deployment of the plan. And a network of protected bike lanes for those who don’t feel comfortable riding in traffic.

  • BBnet3000

    Im sorry, but I just cant call the current mode share or experience of cycling in NYC a success, and I ride every day.

    Yes, do I know theres been a big increase from an incredibly small base, and bikeshare has really increased the visibility and numbers of cyclists within a core area of the city.

  • nycbikecommuter

    This is not just about making cycling successful. This is about lowering the car use and giving people room to move and feel safe on city streets. Pedestrian plazas and wider sidewalks are just as important as bike lanes. People in a modern city should NOT be worried for their lives when walking on a public street: whether being mugged or raped or killed by a vehicle. We have around 10 casualties each month and that is 10 too many. People should not die on modern city streets! We’ve got the crime down, now wee need to get vehicular violence down and the best way to do this is to lower the number and speed of cars by redesigning the streets so that drivers know they are the second class citizens to pedestrians and cyclists. The rule of a car must end.

  • Kevin Love

    For a good example of ending the rule of the car, take a look at this “before and after” video of a densely populated Dutch town.

    New York is only 40 years behind. They changed. We can too.

  • Kevin Love

    In my opinion, cycling will be a success in NYC when it looks like this:

    http://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/looking-down-on-cyclists/

  • I’m okay with successful. We have a long journey ahead, but remembering back in the mid-90s when I was the only cyclist I would see riding over the Brooklyn Bridge at 6 pm (and maybe only 10 pedestrians!) it is easy to see that we have had a huge victory. Also: bicycling in NYC will likely never be as popular in places like Portland or SF for one key reason – our transit system is way beyond ANY other U.S. city. People love the subways. It’s hard to make a dent enough that would give us in NYC mode shares (overall) in the 5%, 7%, 10% or more range when competing with that. Of course now there are some neighborhoods that probably see double digits on weekends and commute rush hours and that’s fantastic.

  • lop

    Looks great. But the VCs will fight you. Too slow for them.

  • Joe R.

    Totally agree. When cycling is a viable way to get around the entire city, not just parts of Manhattan or parts of Brooklyn/Queens near Manhattan, and it’s as fast or faster than any other mode, I’ll consider it a success. For now though it seems much of the city was largely left out. Ironically, most of those places are areas poorly served by public transit where biking could have been a viable alternative to automobile travel if only it were made safer/faster. The areas where cycling infrastructure was built tend to be areas already heavily served by mass transit.

  • Joe R.

    Weather is a big factor here. NYC has a lot of rainy or snowy days, or days when the temperatures are too hot or too cold to cycle comfortably. I don’t consider temperatures a major obstacle (except for very hot weather where there’s nothing you can do to improve the situation) but precipitation is a problem. There are probably at least 100 days a year on average where cycling is problematic due to weather conditions. The summer especially is a problem with the unique NYC combination of heat and humidity.

    Traffic is another factor. Riding in heavy traffic breathing exhaust fumes is slow, tedious, and stressful regardless of the type of infrastructure. It’s the major reason I don’t consider cycling for transportation viable. During the times when road conditions are reasonable, not much of interest is open.

    Solutions exist to both these problems but they seem to fall largely on deaf ears. I think we can increase cycling mode share well into the double digits, particularly in the outer boroughs where subway service is sparse, but it isn’t happening doing what we’re doing. There is only so much protected bike lanes can accomplish. I think they’ve already increased mode share by about as much as they ever will.

  • New Yorker

    Citibikes should be on Museum mile, city college, columbia U, upper manhattan, . Good thing Justin Ginsburg jumped ship…dude didn’t ride a bike, was a political hack and was one of the worst spokespeople you could find to advocate biking. Hopefully, they can hire someone who can advocate for the areas where residents had requested them years go when they put out a map requesting a suggested area.

  • Joe R.

    But they have plenty of examples even VCs would be hard pressed to find fault with:

  • lop

    In dense areas?

  • Joe R.

    Why not? If anything, it’s more imperative for cyclists to avoid intersections with major roads in dense areas because they save far more time doing so. There’s no inherent reason why cycling in cities has to be slow other than our refusal to build appropriate infrastructure to make it faster. If you want to increase mode share (and get the VCs off our backs) then you have to build infrastructure even the bold and fearless can’t find fault with. As a not so insignificant bonus, the type of infrastructure shown also makes timid cyclists feel safe (because it is safe). I can’t say the same about intersections where bikes and cars must pass through the same physical space.

  • lop

    Who cares about the VCs, when they’re the only cyclists mode share stays under 1%. They should be ignored.

    In the video Kevin linked they share space with cars in some intersections. Critical mass of cyclists+pedestrians, dedicated light phases, high visibility intersections, and enforcement make them safe. But it’s slow. How many of them look like they want a big workout on this trip? And VCs won’t like slowing down anymore than car drivers will. And given how many people are in those videos, I think it’s clear you don’t need cycling facilities to focus on speed to increase mode share.

  • Dennis_Hindman

    Its easier for a bicycle to compete with transit for transportation compared to a car. Transit does not take you door to door and a car can.

    This makes the mode share possibility for bicycling greater in NYC than in Los Angeles–where you can travel virtually anywhere in a car. I know four people in Los Angeles that will get in their car to go across the street to get to work or get a bottle of water at the 7-11 store. A traffic engineer from the Netherlands visiting LA was amazed that people would drive somewhere that’s only 6 blocks away. Hmm…how bout half a block.

    Also, the commuting mode share for walking in NYC is 10%. You can travel three times as far in a half-hour on a bicycle than you can walking. The potential for bicycling in NYC is at least as great as the mode share for walking. It doesn’t happen overnight. Portland took 18 years to go from 1.2% bicycle commuting mode share to 6%.

  • Joe R.

    The main downtown part of Utrecht isn’t much over a mile in any direction, which is why slow speeds don’t matter. Even if someone is riding in from ten miles away, they can go fast for most of the trip on facilities like in the video I linked to. As a result, the slow speeds in Utrecht proper don’t really kill overall average speeds for longer trips, and they don’t matter for short trips which start and end in Utrecht. That’s basically the same model I have in mind for NYC-slow last mile facilities, and faster ones for the rest of trip. If all we build are slow facilities, then bikes won’t be useful for trips much over a mile or two even though they have the potential for a high mode share for trips in the 5 to 10 mile range.

    If we want to see what will work in NYC, then we need to focus on cities about the same size which have very high bicycle mode shares. Outside of some cities in China prior to when autos took over there, I can’t think of any. We like to pretend what works in what by NYC standards are large towns will be just fine but the harsh reality is that’s not the case. We’re in uncharted territory here.

  • UES

    It is an absurdity that the most dense residential areas of the city (UWS and UES) were not in the initial rollout. I can’t wait for citibike to come uptown, though midtown will need many more stations to accommodate the ensuing increase in commuters.

  • carma

    especially in queens and brooklyn.. uggh.. that last mile is usually the worst part of the trip.

  • carma

    to me, cycling would be a success if i dont have to worry about bike parking and my bike being stolen.

    thats why citibike works so well for me.

  • Joe R.

    Yeah, tell me about it. If I’m coming in from Manhattan maybe after 10 PM the train ride is typically under 20 minutes and the wait times are reasonable. The problem is when I get off the subway. If I miss one bus the next one is 20 or 30 minutes later. Add in 10-15 minutes travel time, and that’s 30 to 45 minutes to do that last 2.5 miles. Bike share in such a situation would be quite welcome as it would give me reliable 10 to 12 minute travel times for that last 2.5 miles, regardless of the time of day.

  • lop

    Utrecht is bigger than you think, much more than a mile across.

    http://wagner.nyu.edu/blog/rudincenter/how-to-go-100-million-miles-in-a-day/

    100 million miles traveled per day. Most trips are not 10 miles. People don’t bike for short trips anyway because it isn’t safe, convenient, or pleasant. People won’t bike for long trips with your cycle highways because once they get off them they won’t be safe, convenient, or pleasant, and they’ll get to their destination tired. You can fix the first 3 but the last will always turn away a lot of people. Maybe if you fix the first 3 long distance trips will have a quarter of the mode share of short trips.

    As to cost…

    http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/architecture-design-blog/2014/jan/02/norman-foster-skycycle-elevated-bike-routes-london

    6.5km for 220 million pounds? For something few will use? Of wait, I forgot, ‘China’ is going to build it for you at less than a twentieth the cost of that right?

  • Reader

    I agree. I think we’ve proven that cycling can be successful in NYC, but it’s a stretch to say that it is currently successful.

    We’ve come a long way but we have a long way to go.

  • Joe R.

    Whatever. You already proved in that other thread that you’re not worth discussing this subject with. Maybe try digesting some of what I said before coming back at me with the usual talking points. NYC is not Utrecht or Amsterdam or Copenhagen. Repeat that until it sinks in.

  • Summer is ideal riding time in New York. Today, the first real summer-like day, I rode 57 miles, which is my high daily total since the end of last summer.

    it’s the winter that’s a killer. This past winter, which felt exceptionally bad, was actually a return to the norm after several mild winters. The problem is that I began riding year-round in the winter of 2011-12; so my expectations were formed based on a couple of winters that were not very severe. But I toughed it out, riding to and from work even when it got down to 9 degrees. The only days I skipped were rainy or snowy days, and days during which ice was sitting on the ground.

    This left me with a total of fewer than 200 miles in February, by far my worst-ever total. But I rebounded with well over 300 miles in March: and I broke 500 miles last month. I could easily make 600 or possibly 700 this month; and, if we get a July or August that’s good and hot, perhaps I have a chance of having another month of 1000 miles as I had in August of last year.

    New York is a bicycling wonderland; and summer is the best possible time to be out there enjoying our City.

  • Joe R.

    Well, a lot of it depends upon the person. I personally can’t even be out for long when it gets much above about 75 except at night when the sun isn’t beating down on me. Ironically, I’m more comfortable on a bike in hot weather than walking on account of the cooling breeze, but given a choice, I’d say 40s or 50s are ideal riding weather, for me anyway. I do agree when we have a “real” winter that’s a killer.

    My totals are way off this year compared to usual. I don’t even have 400 miles yet for the entire year. Most of that is due to being quite busy since getting a new consulting gig. Most of the rest is because I haven’t felt particularly well for much of the year, or at least not well enough to ride a lot. Lots of foot and hand pains which sometimes make even walking difficult. Hopefully my body will work its way through this as it has when it’s happened before. If I rebound a bit in my riding, and put in a few good 400 to 500 mile months, I may yet end the year with over 2000 miles, maybe over 3000 if I’m lucky. I’m glad to have at least gotten high-rebound elastomer airless tires as it was becoming a chore to ride with my other airless tires.

  • Chang

    Bikes don’t generate income to the city unfortunately. The notion of Bikes wiith zero emission is fallacious and outdated. Bikers without car ownership don’t reduce any emission and cars improved with hybrid, EV and small cars. Biking in Manhattan is only selfish way of moving around without economic and environmental merit. It’s not public transportation nor merit to economy and environment. Just cheap money saving individual selfish mode which has false sense of right to slow down others time who have to drive cars or trucks for city economy.

  • Chang

    Even delivery guys ride electric bikes or scooters. Pedaling next to trucks and buses unlike promotion is bad for health (unlike in Central Park or gym). Ridiculous concept of bike sharing. It is good for nothing. Get your own bikes and take them with you wherever you go and pay for secured parking space with camera. Taking up space like bike path and bike lanes with solid lines (another ridiculous concept while bikers themselves free to cross or taking up car lanes) only creates more congestion and air pollution until EV fully available.

    Bikes in Manhattan can be supplemental mode but never can be transit alternative due to non bikable-condition of weather. Therefore permanent infra structures like paths and lanes are bad for air and economy by worsened congestion. For example like near Lincoln Tunnel and Midtown Tunnel. Air affects all living creatures.

  • hellskitchencyclist

    This is so incoherent and illogical it’s hard to know where to start. Bikes are used year-round in Northern Europe–many NY’ers, myself included, ride sturdy bikes that are virtually year-round usable. We had an unusually harsh winter last year, but typically, bikes can be used straight through the winter with maybe a month or two off at most, and days scattered in those months, too where bikes are usable. Bikes do NOT create air pollution.

  • Joe R.

    For what it’s worth I’ve been riding 12 months a year for 36 years. Sure, I ride less in January and February but that’s mostly because I don’t want to have to clean road grime off my bike, not because I couldn’t if I had to.

    Some people, like the person you responded to, apparently just hate bikes. Nothing you say is going to make any difference in their mindset.

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