Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In

The Hopeless Inadequacy of de Blasio’s “5 Borough Bike-Share”

Proposed service areas for this summer’s dockless bike-share pilots. Image: NYC Mayor’s Office

The city plans to launch dockless bike-share pilots in Coney Island, the Rockaways, Staten Island's North Shore, and the area surrounding Fordham University in the Bronx, Mayor de Blasio announced today.

Each new bike-share zone will be small in scope, with no more than 200 bikes. The city says data from the pilot projects will inform future bike-share policy decisions going forward.

"We will start in July on a small scale in each borough outside Manhattan, and we will take what we learn over the next few months to make informed, clear-eyed decisions as to whether New York City’s bike-share future is dockless," DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in a statement.

The agency plans to select participating companies from a pool of 12 applicants next month. While the pilot zones won't be large enough to assess how dockless bike-share services function at scale in NYC (the combined fleet for each area will be capped at 200 bikes), the city will be looking to evaluate "the safety, availability and durability of the bikes" and how well each company complies with "requirements around data accessibility and user privacy."

The services are expected to launch in July, with trips limited to the geography of the pilot zones. In the fall, DOT will evaluate the companies' performance and decide how to proceed with expansion.

While today's announcement allows de Blasio to check "five-borough bike-share" off his to-do list, 2018 will also be the first year since Citi Bike launched that the city's existing, intensely used bike-share system won't be expanded.

Last year, Citi Bike operator Motivate and City Hall nearly reached an agreement to expand the network by 50 percent, including a significant service area in the Bronx, but never sealed the deal. De Blasio reportedly balked because he didn't want bike-share stations to replace on-street parking spots, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

Bike-share depends on network effects to be useful. Systems gain capacity the more extensive and densely packed with bicycles they are.

An expansion of the Citi Bike service area into contiguous neighborhoods would create vastly more transportation value for New Yorkers than a handful of small, isolated pockets of dockless bike-share. Even if the city gains useful information from the pilot bike-share zones that informs future policies, the fact is that City Hall has allowed a very useful system with a proven track record to stagnate.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Disabled NYer’s are Victims of Gov. Hochul’s Congestion Pricing Pause

So many New Yorkers can’t use the closest subway station to their homes because they don't have an elevator. And Gov. Hochul just halted funding for 23 new lifts.

July 23, 2024

DOT Will Fast-Track Private Sidewalk E-Bike Charging Stations

The mayor announced a new sidewalk e-bike charging station initiative, along with progress on the e-bike battery swap program and more money to FDNY for educational outreach.

July 23, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines: LEGO Finally Gets It Edition

Streetsblog has had our issues with LEGO over the years, but we're willing to forgive. Plus other news.

July 23, 2024

Speeding Fuels Pedestrian Death Crisis As Council Stalls ‘Sammy’s Law’ Changes

Pedestrian fatalities were up 27 percent in the first six months of the year compared to 2023.

July 23, 2024

Bike Rack Saves Pedestrians in Crash on Busy Brooklyn Street

The white Hyundai involved in the crash has been nabbed 10 times by city speed- and red-light cameras since Oct. 10, 2023, city records show.

July 22, 2024
See all posts