Eyes on the Street: Bike-Share Demo on Hudson Greenway

CIMG2168.JPGBob Burns, president of B-cycle, at right, shows off a rental station. Photo: Ben Fried

Denver bike-share firm B-cycle has set up a demo station at Pier 84 on the Hudson River Greenway. Reps should be there until around 5:00 today.

B-cycle is a cooperative of Humana, Trek, and PR firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky. On Thursday it will launch a 500-bike program, billed as "the first city-wide bike-sharing system in the U.S.," in Denver.

  • Bob Roll

    The high volume, very multi-use, Hudson Greenway is the perfect place for thousands of tourists and infrequent bicyclists to ride unfamiliar rental and share bikes. Because tow trucks, garbage trucks, ferry buses, cabs, Chelsea Piers limos, cruise ship traffic, Duck Tours, Intrepid visitors and Bike and Roll aren’t enough. What a great f*ing idea.

  • Bob,

    It is exactly because the Greenway is a multi-use recreational space that it is absurd to try to limit tourist and recreational bike traffic there. Rather, these uses shuld be promoted there. I would also welcome greater promotion of tourist/recreational cycling in Central Park as well, with bike parking facilities and promotion maps encouraging tourists to take in Central Park and nearby attractions (the Met, AMNH) by bike.

    Experienced cyclists who bike for transportation, work, or training have the entire grid (less the small percentage of streets with bike lanes or paths) avaiable to them, not to mention the Greenway and the Central park Loops during low-use hours.

    Each additional cyclist furthers the cause of cycling. That includes including recreational and tourist cyclists. And they don’t hurt tax revenues or the local economy either!

  • Bob Roll

    Bike Only, you clearly do not use the Hudson Greenway to get to work or for regular transportation. To write it off as a “recreation space” is ridiculous. It’s a major bike commuting route, one of the most important in the city. Each additional tourist makes using the path that much slower and more difficult for city residents who have a long ride. Encouraging bike tourism there is like encouraging drivers ed on the highway during rush hour. The street grid is a far inferior alternative for trips over a couple of miles.

  • For pedestrians and joggers, the Greenway is very much a “recreational space,” especially for those of us who live next to it.

  • Whenever I have a meeting downtown, I commute use the Greenway, even though I live on the East Side. I’ve done that about forty times a year, for at least 7 years. Between 8:00 and 9:30 in the morning on weekdays, I have never had a serious problem with traveling at my chosen speed, usually about ~20 MPH, because traffic–both recreational and commuting–is minimal.

    In particular, I disagree with your view every additional tourist makes using the path much slower and more difficult. First of all, there just aren’t many tourists out there during (customary) commuting times. More fundamentally, every person in traffic slows every other person to some extent. That’s what city traffic is. The Hudson waterfront is scenic and full of attractions. Cyclists can’t expect to have it to themselves. I can’t believe that tourists delay you more than a few minutes at most. Please try to time it as you go and let me know your results. I have a feeling that it feels worse than it really is.

    Mark, if you feel the West Side Greenway is not much of a recreational space for joggers and cyclists, when was the last time you took a stroll along the East River Esplanade north of 59th Street? You’ll see huge cave-ins and other pinchpoints in the roadway that require joggers and cyclists to queue up to pass each other–many of them. a long flight of stairs to climb at 81st Street. No water fountains. No public art. No concessions of any kind. Crappy access and egress points choked by FDR and First Avenue traffic. And no green spots or even astroturf piers to stop and take a rest. Go to Carl Schurz park on a sunny day, and the towels of the strangers sunbathing there are so close together they are practically touching! Folks on the East Side are working hard to win a linear park along the East River half as nice as the West Side Greenway.

  • BicyclesOnly, please reread my post. I do feel the West Side Greenway is a recreational space! I use it all the time for recreation because I live in the West 90s. In fact, now that the weather is warming up, I plan to be out there (on foot) quite a lot.

    I haven’t observed conditions on the East Side but certainly take your word for it. My intent in participating in this discussion was to point out that the Greenway has a variety of users, and I wanted to put in a word about pedestrians, since no one else had done so up to that point.

  • Bob, I too want my own private bike thoroughfare! You know what, though? Any old public thoroughfare that can be shared safely with other bikers and pedestrians is pretty good.

    So in order to work most effectively toward the goal of being able to ride around New York safely and conveniently, I have decided (reluctantly!) to work WITH other people who, like me, are Greenway users, to prod out elected representatives to allow for MORE room to ride.

    Stop complaining and join us!

  • BicyclesOnly

    Sorry Mark, I read your comment a couple of times and each time inserted a “not” somehow!and Bob, I didn’t mean to be as strident as my comment reads in retrospect. I agree with jonathan that the answer is to add a lane from West Street to the “recreation path.”

  • The Westside Greenway may not be packed during traditional commuting hours but anyone who has ventured out on a warm weekend in the summer will find it overcrowded with cyclists, skaters, joggers, pedestrians, dog walkers, and tourists, all hungry for some green space. Those in the west side communities who fought so long and hard have proven “if you build it they will come” Obviously its time we had something equally nice on the East Side.

    I’m not sure I really understand the point in setting up a bike share right next to Bike N Roll. Wouldn’t it make more sense to place some bike stations next to Penn Stations or Grand Central where train commuters might be tempted to pedal the last leg of their commute? Maybe B-cycle isn’t quite ready to share their bikes with real New York City traffic.

  • The set-up yesterday was a three-bike demo kiosk that they expected to disassemble by 5 o’clock. The purpose was mainly to show what a B-Cycle station looks like and how the system works — check-out, lock-up, etc. It wasn’t sending hordes of bike traffic onto the greenway.

  • I’m sorry, but this is just arrogant and rude. How would Denver feel if we set up a model Subway station in their city just to show off how much better public transit is in New York?

    We get it, Denver! You beat us in rolling out a bike share program! We’re jealous! Are you happy now?

  • Todd

    Yes Jeff. We are happy now. 🙂 Public transportation has a long way to go in Denver but this is a nice step.

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