Today’s Headlines

  • DEP to Install 5,500 “Curbside Gardens” Bioswales to Handle Storm Runoff (WSJ)
  • In Wake of FreshDirect Ruling, South Bronx Residents Consider Options (City Limits)
  • Upset About Citi Sponsorship of Bike-Share? Daily News Goes Back to 1896, Shows It’s Nothing New
  • Bike-Share Day Nine: More Than 30,500 Members and 13,000 Trips (Citi Bike)
  • Bike-Share Station Outages: The Post Is On It
  • Yglesias: Transportation Authoritarianism? Just Look at Auto-Centric Street Design (Slate)
  • Bike Peace NYC Responds to Rabinowitz: “NYC Has Been Positively Begrimed And It Looks Great”
  • Christie Shows No Regrets About Killing ARC Tunnel (WNYC)
  • BP Candidate/Congestion Pricing Foe Leroy Comrie: Queens Should Have Another Subway Line (News)
  • East Harlem Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez Busted for DWI in Albany (News)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Bolwerk

    Right-wingers are usually are usually fiscally irresponsible, so needless to say Chris Christie’s own failures as a leader probably would have prevented NJ from having a chance at coming out ahead on ARC. ARC was full of bad ideas, but it was practically a federal handout to New Jersey. It could have been leveraged to the state’s advantage by a competent leader. But then, the point probably wasn’t fiscal at all; it was some combination of sticking it to libruls and anti-rail hysteria.

    And if Christie’s so concerned about each state paying its fair share, maybe he should cut NYC a check for all the times NJ residents use our street space for free. We are quite generous people!

    “30,500 Members and 13,000 Trips” is interesting. It means many people are members, but not using it. That actually says something positive about the perceived value of bike-sharing.

  • Anonymous

    I’m a member and like most members I don’t use it every day. I figured that even if I use it only a few times per week, or even per month, it’s still worth it. Not to mention that the incentive to become a member vs buying day/week passes is huge given the pricing structure.

  • Bolwerk

    A big city newspaper that doesn’t understand the value of investing in transit? The Daily News’ gratuitous comments in the Comrie piece are gallingly idiotic too. Queens needs more subway routes for sure, and they don’t even bother citing a reason why a new subway line in Queens should cost what the SAS costs (even with the SAS’s obvious overpricing), and simply scoff at the idea. Newsflash: it would pay off.

  • Bolwerk

    I don’t expect people to use it daily, but I would expect most members to have tried it by now. Assuming every trip was by a discrete member, a wild assumption, the above ratio means a little more than 4 out of 10 users have tried it.

    Not saying it’s a bad thing, just not what I expected.

  • Anonymous

    The 13,000 trips quoted above were for one day only. The total since the system launched was over 90,000 trips, as of yesterday at 5 pm. That means that each annual member has made an average of 3 trips (this is an oversimplified calculation, because I’m neglecting daily/weekly users and the number of members has not been constant).

  • Bolwerk

    Ah, I didn’t open the UR.* I thought SB was reporting cumulative use. That makes more sense.

    * I hate Citi, but I’m still glad bikeshare is working out

  • Jeff

    I hate to admit it, but while I do see myself getting some use out of it, the main reason I bought a membership was to be on the record as stating, “I, citizen, hereby support the bike share program, and the general expansion of bicycle facilities in the city.” As far as my personal finances are concerned, the membership fee basically falls in the same category as donations to Streetsblog, TA, etc., not so much transportation.

  • Anonymous

    That was also one of my reasons. I want bikeshare to succeed, so I subscribed immediately even though I live outside the coverage area, which is why I certainly won’t use it every day.

  • Same here. Uptowners like me will have to wait for coverage but I work in midtown and I will probably use it once a week or so to avoid subway trips or longer walks. So it is likely to pay for itself. Also, I work close enough to Central Park that I could conceivably take a quick lunchtime joyride on days when I don’t ride my own bike.

  • Anonymous

    I thought it was pretty well documented that Christie’s retreat from the ARC tunnel was a lie:

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2012/04/10/independent-federal-report-confirms-christie-lied-to-kill-arc-tunnel/

  • moocow

    That’s why I signedup too. I do think I will use it in a pinch, I figuredonce a month for the year was worth the $100. I too, live outside the network, but have manged to put it to use already.

  • Anonymous

    I put together a spread sheet taking citibike’s daily ridership and membership stats and estimated how much money their bringing in, and what the average cost per mile and per trip is for all users.

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AndFA74BCCQ8dEI1dVcwakkxbm9GckFJbTByeWlFckE&usp=sharing

    In short, they’re making about $150k/day right now. The cost per mile or trip is still much higher than a cab, but it’s dropping dramatically, and will eventually be a fraction of the cost as annual members continue to use the system.

  • Anonymous

    The more bikes on the road, the calmer drivers will be. And the safer pedestrians will be.

    That said, I know many people in the ‘burbs have only recently realized what a boon Citibike is for their commutes from Grand Central and Penn Station. When it expands to East Harlem, I imagine lots of MetroNorth commuters will get off at Harlem-125th to quickly reach destinations on the upper east and west sides.

  • Anonymous

    I would love to see more Queens subway routes, but considered from the city-wide standpoint, I would have to concede they shouldn’t be a priority. Increased capacity on the overcrowded #7 train would be justified, by adding new routes is probably not … most of queens (in terms of area) is relatively low density and doesn’t have a lot of concentrated employment.

    New subway routes would certainly spur development, but the current focus should be on areas that are already developed and lack adequate connections or service.

    To me, the obvious issue is that the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront has been heavily developed, but transit service has not changed to adapt to new living and working patterns. If there is going to be any new subway route, is should connect the areas from northwestern Queens, through north Brooklyn and down along the Brooklyn waterfront . Although it might be more efficient and create almost the same benefit to invest in a major upgrade to the G line.

  • Anonymous

    I would love to see more Queens subway routes, but considered from the city-wide standpoint, I would have to concede they shouldn’t be a priority. Increased capacity on the overcrowded #7 train would be justified, by adding new routes is probably not … most of queens (in terms of area) is relatively low density and doesn’t have a lot of concentrated employment.

    New subway routes would certainly spur development, but the current focus should be on areas that are already developed and lack adequate connections or service.

    To me, the obvious issue is that the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront has been heavily developed, but transit service has not changed to adapt to new living and working patterns. If there is going to be any new subway route, is should connect the areas from northwestern Queens, through north Brooklyn and down along the Brooklyn waterfront . Although it might be more efficient and create almost the same benefit to invest in a major upgrade to the G line.

  • Bolwerk

    Those aren’t mutually exclusive goals. The waterfront probably needs something more like light rail than subway service though.

    But I disagree with the standpoint comment: Queens probably is most in need of more subways, given its size, population, potential for future growth, and the service limitations of existing lines there. You don’t have those kinds of synergies anywhere else in the city, not even on the SAS.

  • Anonymous

    Queens could benefit from a long-term program of new subways and new zoning, allowing for higher density development and higher employment along the new subway corridors.
    However, the city has created a long term development strategy that prioritizes the brooklyn-queens waterfront over the lower density areas of central and southern queens. The waterfront already has the zoning, and is starting to experience growth bottlenecks because of the lack of transport infrastructure.

    Also, before developing much of Queens for higher density, there are important questions to answer about land use and the types of business that the city economy should encourage. The last bastions of industrial New York would probably be priced out by any upzoning with improved transit. That has both good and bad implications, and should be considered carefully.

  • kevd

    Anyone want to cut and paste the WSJ article?

  • Anonymous

    Trick for reading WSJ articles: search for it on Google (using the title, it usually comes up as the top result) and click on the search result. The WSJ website normally shows articles that would otherwise require a subscription when you get to it through Google. I suppose they see it as advertising through Google: get readers in by letting them read one article and then charge them for the next one. The WSJ is not the only paper that does that, BTW.

  • Bolwerk

    Well, I certainly wouldn’t say a new subway program shouldn’t include the waterfronts. I worry about the long-term viability of waterfronts due to climate change, however. And the kind of deep stations they’d need would be expensive.

    Either way, it’s not even so much about the *rest* of Queens. The sliver of high population served by the 7 and Queens Blvd needs relief somehow, and new tracks are about the only way to offer it. Beyond that, probably almost any even medium-density area could be served with great success.

  • kevd

    Thanks. The old same trick as for NYTimes articles. But, The Times also works when you open in an incognito window, while this did not (for me).

  • Joe R.

    Large swaths of Queens are miles from a subway station. The goal should be to have any area where people live within a mile of a subway. A good start would be a spur down either Jewel Avenue or the Long Island Expressway all the way up to at least Springfield Boulevard. This spur would be about midway between the Queens Boulevard lines and the #7. It would serve many people who currently must take long bus rides to reach the subway. After that, extend the F past 179th up to at least Marathon Pwky, preferably all the way to city limits. Extend the #7 as well, perhaps along Northern Boulevard, all the way to or near city limits. In both cases have either 3 or 4 tracks so you can run local/express patterns. You really need expresses given the distances involved. At the same time, allow Metrocard transfers to the LIRR stops within city limits. And perhaps also build one or two north-south lines to facilitate subway travel within the borough. The hard fact is getting around in much of Queens by public transit is slow and inconvenient. Buses run infrequently. They’re subject to delays from traffic, traffic signals, etc. They stop frequently. They’re just plain inferior compared to a good subway system. Queens has grown enormously in population. A good system of subways would help it grow further while also decreasing street traffic.

  • Joe R.

    You’re right, we should be asking why the SAS is costing probably ten times per mile what subways do in other places. And to apply that same pricing to new subways in Queens is disingenuous at best. There might be some subsurface utilities in Queens, but mostly all you need to do to build a new subway is remove dirt.

  • you have to clear your browser cookies

  • kevd

    Hmmm.

    Cleared cookies in Chrome and tried again. Still requires a subscription. But that’s okay, the google search worked

  • Anonymous

    I’d never ridden a bike in the city before last week. I got an annual pass (founding member!) mainly because I think bike share is a fantastic idea and I wanted to support it. I hoped that I’d have the courage to actually get some use out of it.

    My first trip was four blocks down the Lafayette bike lane during my lunch break. When I came to my first big intersection I got a little nervous and redocked the bike. But I loved it. I walk everywhere in the city– three-hour walks on my days off– but this was like flying.

    My second trip was ten blocks down Lafayette, and I rode right up to the dock across from my office. My third trip was from my office to the Lower East Side to get my hair cut. Then back on another bike to go pick up lunch. Then back on another bike to go back to the office.

    Three trips was all it took to turn me from someone who was too scared to ride in the city into someone who considers CitiBike her first choice for getting around Manhattan. I’m a total convert.

  • Daphna

    I am so happy to hear this! I think (and hope!) others are having the same experience. Biking makes sense in NYC since it’s flat, condensed and the climate is moderate. I hope Citibike helps lots of people to overcome their initial fear of bicycling in NYC.

    My own experience cycling was similar to yours except I started several years ago on a vintage folding bike I ordered off ebay. I took short rides on non-busy, non-scary streets and gradually started biking longer distances and gradually started biking on the streets instead of always detouring to a park or the greenway.