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The Bike-Share Map: It’s Real, It’s Big, and It’s Only Going to Get Bigger

1:27 PM EDT on May 11, 2012

Putting 420 big blue dots on a map of New York really crystallizes what had been abstract so far: Bike-share is going to blanket the core of the city. If you live, work, study, or socialize in Manhattan below 60th Street or northwest Brooklyn, there's going to be a station within a few blocks of your apartment, your office, your subway stop, your favorite cafe or that out-of-the-way gallery you've been meaning to check out.

Within the service area -- which will include ten stations in Long Island City from the outset -- there's pretty much a consistent grid of stations, meaning ready access from just about anywhere. The station density is higher in some places (check out Washington Square) and lower in others (Midtown is a bit sparser than downtown), but essentially there's nowhere without good coverage.

The one major exception is insular south Williamsburg, where local Hasidic leaders have fought bike infrastructure and complained about the mere presence of cyclists. There, a square of more than half a mile in each direction is entirely without a station. Other gaps exist -- there aren't any stations on the narrow streets of Little Italy, for example -- but outside of south Williamsburg's Satmar neighborhood none seems large enough to really impede the use of the system.

DOT has also released a map [PDF] showing how far bike-share will extend once fully deployed next year. As previously reported, the system will extend north to 79th Street in Manhattan and south toward Prospect Park in Brooklyn, as well as a few more blocks deeper into Queens:

What's interesting here is that the map looks almost identical to the service area recommended by a 2009 Department of City Planning study. The Phase 1 service area, that is. DCP also recommended that bike-share expand two more times. Phase 2, which would cover all of Manhattan, most of the South Bronx and western Queens and more of Brooklyn, would triple the size of the system, from 10,000 bikes to 30,000. "These phases should be introduced as soon as possible," recommended DCP.

That kind of bike-share expansion is a project for another mayor, of course. But just remember: all those blue dots on today's map might be just the beginning.

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