The Trouble With Citi Bike Above 59th Is Station Density, Not the Timeline

The timetable for Citi Bike expansion on the UWS isn’t a problem. The real trouble is that after all the planned stations go in, neighborhoods will still have gaps in their bike-share networks (the orange discs). Map: Transportation Alternatives

For some reason, the timeline for phasing in the Citi Bike expansion in Manhattan is getting covered as a minor scandal, even though officials are sticking to the schedule they revealed months ago. The real problem with the bike-share expansion plan is the thinned-out station network, which is, unfortunately, getting buried by the faux story about a delayed roll-out.

The West Side Rag came out with the first headline about the Upper West Side getting “only 21 of 39” stations this year. The Post ran with the same angle, and Curbed picked up the Post story.

Just so we’re clear: The timetable announced last week is essentially the same as the timetable announced in May — the bike-share service area will extend to 86th Street this year, and up to 110th Street next spring. (The West Side Rag reported as much at the time.) Further expansion is slated for 2017.

There’s been no “reduction” in stations for the Upper West Side and Upper East Side, just some confusion because not all the stations on DOT’s neighborhood bike-share maps will get installed until spring.

Meanwhile, the real story about how the city is flubbing the bike-share expansion is getting overlooked (except on Curbed). As we’ve reported, DOT is trying to spread out bike-share stations too thinly, which threatens to impede the quality of bike-share service in the expansion zone, making it less reliable and more expensive to operate.

More stories about the real problem, instead of the imaginary one, could make a big difference for bike-share going forward.

  • Reader

    Slow expansions are exactly how they do it in other cities. Capital Bike Share sometimes makes a big announcement about the addition of just one or two stations. (I think they had a ribbon cutting on just four stations in Arlington.) Same with Hubway in Boston. If NY’s press paid more attention to places outside of NYC or was at all intellectually curious about how things have been proven to work elsewhere, it would help on SOOOOO many issues, not just bikes.

  • One thing I havent seen addressed is how zero capacity is being added to the existing area. So say you take out a bike in the expansion area, and naturally want to bike down to the old stations. Same number of docks as before down there….but a ton of new bikes potentially trying to dock.

    Isnt this a problem?

  • Reader

    Presumably this is offset by a person, say, staying in a Midtown hotel, grabbing a bike, and then riding up to the Museum of Natural History.

  • Lacking CitiBikes

    Has it been revealed how many docks will be at each station in UWS and UES? I was talking to a Citi Bike employee yesterday and was told some of the stations will be quite large, with 60 docks. Perhaps this is Motivate’s attempt to ameliorate the problem of too few stations allocated by DOT.

  • BBnet3000

    Yes but those systems aren’t as well ridden as New York’s and have public financial aid, precisely because they lack the critical mass our system has had.


Citi Bike Will Start Rolling Out 139 New Stations August 10

Hard to believe it’s only been two years since bike-share launched in New York. After a tumultuous start roiled by software bugs and the bankruptcy of a key supplier, the city’s bike-share system is finally on a more even keel and ready to expand. Today NYC DOT and Citi Bike announced a firm date when the next batch […]

Citi Bike Could Expand to 86th Street This Summer

It looks like some parts of Manhattan north of 59th Street could be getting Citi Bike sooner than previously expected. At a town hall hosted by Council Member Helen Rosenthal last week, DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione said Citi Bike would expand to 86th Street by August or September, and to 110th Street “probably in March,” […]

Citi Bike Will Expand Uptown With Its Too-Sparse Station Network

The good news: Citi Bike is expanding up to 130th Street later this year. The bad news: Stations in Morningside, Harlem, and East Harlem are going to be more spread out than the bike-share network below 59th Street. As with last year’s additions to the bike-share network, the longer walking distances between stations will make these expansions less convenient for Citi Bike […]