Global Pandemic? Sure, But Don’t Forget Citi Bike!

Last year, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg rode Citi Bikes to herald a coming expansion. Well, planning is finally underway. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Last year, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg rode Citi Bikes to herald a coming expansion. Well, planning is finally underway. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Wednesday’s crucial Citi Bike planning workshop in the west Bronx is, of course, canceled — so residents of the area around Yankee Stadium are being asked to submit their recommendations for docking stations online.

The DOT website allows people to indicate the best locations for Citi Bike racks (as well as locations that might not be best) in Community Board 4, the latest area to start planning for the coming bike-share system.

“Due to city and state guidance on public gatherings at this time, we will not be able to hold a public workshop as scheduled. However, we still want to hear from community members in Highbridge, Concourse and Mt, Eden on where they’d like to see Citi Bike stations located,” the DOT said in a statement. “We encourage people to use the online feedback portal to comment on their station suggestions, which help guide our planners into addressing the community’s wants and needs.”

Don’t waste this opportunity to help the DOT plan this expansion. Earlier this year, Streetsblog reported that preliminary maps for upper Manhattan and the South Bronx revealed that residents had chosen to put more Citi Bike docks on sidewalks rather than in the street, which could put the squeeze on pedestrians.

The give-and-take of Citi Bike docking stations has long been an issue.

Citi Bike will expand — finally — into the Bronx/ But the close-to-Manhattan expansion won't help resident's living in the borough's many transit deserts.
Citi Bike will expand — finally — into the Bronx/ But the close-to-Manhattan expansion won’t help resident’s living in the borough’s many transit deserts.

“Clearly, there is a directive to the planners to take as little parking as possible” in the Citi Bike expansion, Jon Orcutt of Bike New York told Streetsblog earlier this year. Orcutt was a DOT official who was involved in the initial introduction of Citi Bike under the Bloomberg administration, so he knows the challenge.

“When I was working on this, the Manhattan community boards said, ‘Stations in the street! Don’t touch our sidewalks,’ and the Brooklyn community boards said, ‘Stations on sidewalks! Don’t touch our parking!’”

Citi Bike’s expansion into Northern Manhattan and the Bronx is part of a broader — though not citywide — rollout that will continue through 2023.

This next phase is crucial because Citi Bike’s electric bikes allow for longer commutes, making Citi Bike a vital part of the city’s transportation network (despite not a dime of public money going into it). The Bronx and Upper Manhattan also have virtually no protected bike lanes, which the DOT tends to install after Citi Bike arrives.

Clearly, that has problems. Last week, as cycling increased during the coronavirus crisis, bike injuries were up 43 percent citywide — with a 450-percent increase in the Bronx.

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