How Will You Use Bike-Share? New Trip Planner Lets You Find Out

Citi Bike will make it a lot quicker to get from Stuy Town to Penn Station. Image:

Pretty much anywhere you go within the bike-share service area, you’ll be within a few blocks of a bike-share station. There’s probably a station around the corner from your office. Odds are, it’ll be a boon for any of those tricky diagonal trips that aren’t well-served by the subway.

To find out exactly how long it’ll take to get around New York on bike-share, there’s now a new online tool: (disclosure: the site was designed by OpenPlans, Streetsblog’s parent organization). Plug in your origin and destination and the site will identify the nearest bike-share stations and map you a route between them. A triangular slider lets riders prioritize faster, flatter, or safer routes.

I played around with the site this afternoon and I’m increasingly convinced that bike-share is going to transform the way New Yorkers get around. You can’t beat the train for a trip straight up Eighth Avenue, but for many trips, bike-share is going to be the go-to way to get from A to B. A trip from the middle of Stuy Town to Penn Station, shown above, would take only 16 minutes, according to the site.

Play around with the site and let us know: For the trips you take regularly, will bike-share come out on top?

  • Anxiously Awaiting Bike Share

    One piece of advice, and I don’t know how easy it is, would be to include if a bike route is segregated and give bonus points for safety.  For example, on my commute to midtown, I have to go up 6th ave but go up as far as I can go on 1st ave before cutting across to 6th ave because the 1st ave bike lane is far nicer, wider, safer and better than the 6th ave parallel route.

  • Bronxite

    At how many MPH is this based?

  • Brick

    Just an observation – the map isn’t making any distinction between bike routes on bridges and automobile routes.

    For example it’s telling cyclists to take the Manhattan Bridge straight through to Flatbush ave, as if it were ignoring the bicycle path on the bridge completely.

  • Ben Kintisch

    This will be a great tool for the legions of rookie NYC cyclists who will be hitting New York streets for the first time on two wheels once Citibike rolls in to town. Until the bike network is expanded further, you really need to know the streets where lanes are so you make yourself a safe route. I think this website will help newbies overcome that hurdle of city bike navigation.

  • Frank Hebbert

    We’re using OpenStreetMap data for the route planning, so we’re dependent on its classification of streets — as you discovered, not everything is correct. Luckily, OpenStreetMap is a wiki-style map, so anyone can make the required correction.

    For example, you’ll see that the Brooklyn Bridge never shows up in any trips planned with That’s because a section the bike lane on the bridge was missing in the map. I pulled up the map earlier this week and corrected it, you’ll see this correction kick in on soon.

  • Guest

    The travel speed for this is totally unrealistic. Nobody bikes 10 mph on city streets, especially not on a Bixi bike. It takes me 35 minutes to do my 4.5 mile commute. Six mph is more realistic, and 7 mph is pushing it, especially for new cyclists.

  • Anonymous

    After playing with this map for a few minutes, I found that the longest possible trip within Manhattan takes about 35 min, and from Manhattan to Brooklyn or Queens about one hour. Take that, all those who complain that it is too expensive to make a four hour trip!

    The map doesn’t seem to use a fixed speed, but the typical range is about 8-10 mph.

  • Anonymous

    Average speed depends a lot on the route. My 5.5 mile commute takes about 30 min, thus averaging 11 mph, but more than half the distance is within Central Park, where red lights are few and often considered optional (I do stop at red lights on real intersections). It is on a clunky bike, but presumably not as clunky as a Citibike. Riding downtown is much slower in my limited experience, so 6-7 mph on a Citibike sounds plausible there.

    Of course, Central Park won’t be useful for commuting on a Citibike until they expand the coverage area further to the north.

  • Joe R.

    I don’t know, to me the calculated speeds seem way too slow. Just randomly picking two points, it gave me 35 minutes to go 4.5 miles. Some days I cover that distance in under 15 minutes. Even on a really bad day it’s not taking me more than about 20 minutes to go 4.5 miles. OK, this is in Eastern Queens, not Manhattan, but I see messengers flying along all the time in Manhattan. They’re probably assuming walking speed between the bike share station and the origin/destination, so maybe that’s the reason for the slowish average speeds. However, even picking two points right near bike share stations and along the same avenue, I don’t get that great speeds.  It seems the bike portion of the trip is calculated at ~10 mph.
    @17332831896255059d942b58f34008d3:disqus Lots of people bike at >10 mph on city streets, probably the majority if you look at the city as a whole. I honestly don’t see how it’s possible for even a novice to go only 6 mph without riding the brake. Just letting my feet drop on the pedals with little effort I find I’ll creep up to 12 or 13 mph. With minor effort I’m past 15 mph. Don’t forget also the new cyclists which bike share will breed will eventually be faster, experienced cyclists a few months down the road. I’ll bet good money in a year half the bike share uses are begging for something better than 3 speeds.

  • Anxious — try 8th.  The protected lane there is now being extended to 39th (and a.m. traffic is usually light above 42nd).

  • vnm

    This is a little ahead of things, but I predict that once Bike Share is fully rolled out beyond the initial borders, one insanely popular route is going to be between Metro-North’s station at 125th Street and Columbia University.

  • Driver

    Joe, I’ve ridden the Bixi bikes in Montreal; they are heavy, clunky, and generally very slow.  It really doesn’t compare to riding your own bike.  

  • Driver

    That said, I still enjoyed the experience and the service provided. 

  • Pbsinnyc2

    thank you for disclosing openplans involvement with this service, keep it up! No wonder you gous ate so pro-bike-share

  • CBerthet

    Brillant Does it work on iPad?

  • @e3162a3e51a7cf0fb5b7bdbffe4df445:disqus Should be a feature here on how to make wiki-style contributions to the map, I’m sure a lot of regular readers would be interested in getting their hands dirty

  • Anonymous

    Actually I have found that it does recognize the bike path on the Manhattan Bridge, but it will route you on the roadway if you move the preference to quickest or flattest (the triangle control is a really nice touch).



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