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Citi Bike

Eyes On The Street: Even With Citi Bike, It’s Not Amazin’ To Ride to Citi Field

Photos: Dave Colon|

Mrs. Met looks great on a Citi Bike (inset), but Roosevelt Avenue — the main route to Citi Field — is an unsafe mess.

It was a quiet offseason for the New York Mets after a couple of years of lavish spending, but a week before the team is set to take the field against the hated Milwaukee Brewers, the Metropolitans made one last big Hot Stove League splash: They finally added Citi Bike docks to Citi Field.

Bike share at Citi Field finally ends a years-long campaign to make it possible to ride a Citi Bike to the stadium that shares its corporate namesake, a mobility win that that the Mets celebrated by putting Mr. Met himself on a Citi Bike.

That's historic video, people. The last time we saw Mr. Met on a bike, you could still see his hands and arms:

Lyft and the Department of Transportation were the matchmakers of this Citi Bike-Citi Field marriage, but Thursday's unveiling was also unmistakably a Mets show. Jim Burke, patron saint of Paseo Park, thanked the team for listening to fans who tweeted at Steve Cohen years ago and also showed up to Cohen's early 2023 casino planning community visioning session demanding more car-free options to get to the game.

"I am beyond excited," said Burke. "I just want to thank the Mets organization for really meeting with the community for really talking to us listening to us, and we can't wait for the season to kick off and we can't wait to ride here as families and neighbors."

Such is the power that team owner Steve Cohen has that Council Member Francisco Moya showed up to praise the man he called "Uncle Steve" for the new stations, even though Moya's own safe street headlines have mostly included blaming "distracted pedestrians" for their deaths, fighting to kill a bike lane on nearby 111th Street and working behind the scenes to put the kibosh on the Northern Boulevard bus lane.

But on the day bike share arrives at Citi Field, it's gotta be said: in the same way the 2024 Mets are going to maybe sneak into the playoffs by the skin of their teeth, the routes to ride a Citi Bike to Citi Field remain too full of question marks have total confidence in them, too full of holes to say the job is complete.

The Mets themselves can point to a bright future, thanks to an improved farm system and the infinite leaves in owner Steve Cohen's checkbook, but the DOT doesn't have any plans on deck for the area surrounding the friendly confines. Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez did say the agency must identify areas where the city needs to build better connections so that parents and kids can get to Citi Field safely. We thought we'd help out the commish with this "Eyes on the Street" feature:

Roosevelt Ave

It doesn't matter if you're coming to Citi Field from the east or the west on Roosevelt Avenue, you are not going to be granted a comfortable experience. From the west, you're on your own next to row after row of parked cars that could pull out or drivers who can door you at any moment, and the road itself is pockmarked with the kinds of holes that can send you flying:

You don't want your bike catching this at the wrong angle.Photo: Dave Colon

The numbers show you're at risk if you ride Roosevelt during baseball season: In 2023 between March and October, there were 134 reported crashes on Roosevelt between 69th Street and Junction Boulevard, injuring 12 cyclists, 20 pedestrians and 26 motorists. Between Junction Boulevard and Citi Field, there were 84 reported crashes that injured eight cyclists, nine pedestrians and 21 motorists in the same time span.

Coming from the east, you're in packed commercial Flushing with no bike infrastructure...

Please give something safe to this man on a bike.Dave Colon

... Until that is, you get to the 10-foot wide pedestrian/cyclist path on the Roosevelt Avenue bridge, which is extremely pleasant for the stretch that you're on it.

Now this is a home run.Dave Colon

But like a bullpen featuring two great setup guys who give way to a closer with a gasoline can, it's a lost cause: a bridge that dumps you right onto the chaos under the elevated tracks.

Dave Colon

The lack of bike infrastructure on Roosevelt east of Citi Field keep it from being much of a cycling corridor. It's fitting though, that while there were 66 reported crashes between March and October on Roosevelt between Citi Field and Parsons Boulevard, the bridge is the one significant stretch without any crashes.

Northern Blvd

Roosevelt Avenue is a cakewalk, though, compared what riders confront coming from Flushing closer to Northern Boulevard. Northern Boulevard itself is an absolute no-go zone thanks to the eight lanes of traffic that approach Citi Field.

Northern Boulevard looms in such a way that clearly communicates you are not welcome on a bike.Dave Colon

That mess is punctuated by a sign that literally tells pedestrians they are not allowed to cross Northern Boulevard on the west side of the street.

A "No Pedestrians" sign on Northern Boulevard. You hate to see that.Dave Colon

There's a narrow pedestrian and cycling path on Northern when the road crosses over Flushing Bay, but your best bet to get to it is going down the industrial-tinged Prince Street. Not an impossible task, but just not something for novice cyclists, or parents with their baseball-loving kids, to deal with.

A cyclist takes refuge on the sidewalk on Prince Street. Dave Colon

Once you get over Northern Boulevard itself, there's a bike lane protected by a jersey barrier though the bike lane itself is grimy and unloved.

Yeesh.Dave Colon
C'mon.Dave Colon

It does at least take you to a the Flushing Bay promenade, a separated bike and pedestrian path on the water. And that's nice, like a single-admission double-header.

Dave Colon

From there, you can bike under the highway to get to a waiting Citi Bike dock by Citi Field's left field entrance, though Boat Basin Place is full of people trying to pull into the parking lot on game day.

Cross under the highway and you're basically at Citi Field. But good luck with that on game day.Dave Colon

The missing link

By far the best way to make it to Citi Field by bike is via 34th Avenue. You can bike calmly along Paseo Park east from 69th Street — and even when the bike lane becomes a painted lane at Junction Boulevard, it still feels chill. The numbers prove it out as well, especially on a road that runs parallel to Roosevelt Avenue a few blocks to the south.

In the stretch of 34th Avenue that makes up Paseo Park, there were just 25 reported crashes during baseball season last year, injuring eight cyclists, one pedestrian and seven motorists, while on the car-dominated stretch between Junction Boulevard and 114th Street, there were 47 crashes that injured seven cyclists, three pedestrians and 22 motorists.

But once you get to 114th Street, you need to cross a highway ramp to get onto a pedestrian bridge over the Grand Central Parkway and another highway ramp to get off the pedestrian bridge and onto the grounds of Citi Field.

There's no stop sign or traffic signal.

Dave Colon
Watch out for pedestrians and cyclists while you're speeding along the highway, please.Dave Colon

You can avoid the highway crossings if you want to go out of your way by turning towards the waterfront at 108th Street, where a painted bike lane will take you to the Flushing Promenade.

The 108th Street bike lane.Dave Colon

But the existence of that option doesn't mean pedestrians and cyclists should be stuck with subpar and dangerous invitations to cross literal highway on-ramps.

No one would say it's easy to untangle the highway spaghetti and industrial flavor of a bunch of the roads surrounding Citi Field, a stadium that unlike its forebears the Polo Grounds, Ebbets Field and Yankee Stadium was not built in the middle of a neighborhood.

But a neighborhood is going to be put directly across the street from Citi Field, and the presence of bike share means it's now explicitly a cycling destination, so the time to deal with the larger mobility issues around the stadium is now. To put a spin on what Mets legend Tom Seaver once said, if the Mets can win the World Series and America can get out of Vietnam, well, New York City can make it truly safe to bike to Citi Field.

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