Ride the Big Apple: largest bike share coming to NYC

Citi Bike NYC

After a couple major setbacks, New York City’s bike share system, Citi Bike, is on target to open next month (via Citi Bike NYC).

 

The city notorious for traffic congestion and raucous yellow cab drivers is due to get an epic transportation facelift this May, in the form of an expansive bike-share system. Get this: over 4,000 people registered for Citi Bike memberships in the first day alone, and hundreds of new memberships are anticipated in the coming days. The data suggests that many New York residents, like myself, are ready to embrace the 6,000 bikes across 330 stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Not everyone is on the same page, though.

Despite excitement to usher in a bike share network in New York City, dissenters want their voice to be heard — but time might be running out. Some view Citi Bike docking stations as a traffic safety hazard and invading their neighborhood; some claim stations are being built in heavy traffic areas, and reducing on-street parking spaces. Merchants have expressed frustration as well: a dock placed next to a liquor store in Bed-Stuy has complicated ladder-access to its roof AC unit, sorely needed in the hot summer months. Increased graffiti and littering as more people are out and about is another concern. Do the naysayers have a valid argument?

bike park

Over 300 Citi Bike docking stations will be scattered around Manhattan and Brooklyn (via RoadTrafficSigns.com).

Bike share advocates are taking an optimistic approach, broadcasting the benefits that the system will yield. As a result of Citi Bike, more individuals will be able to commute to work on two wheels. Charity, our queen blog editor*, discussed the well-being perks of bike commuting in a recent article. For a city with a reputation for cracking down on a number of health and environmental issues, the weight loss and provided utility evidence is favorable.

bike share docks

70 docking stations are going up in Brooklyn. Here’s one in Brooklyn Heights (via SmartSign).

I’m not the first New Yorker to admit trepidation when it comes to hopping on a bike in my Manhattan neighborhood, or even “bike-friendlier” Brooklyn where SmartSign’s office is located. However, I’m grateful for the advent of Citi Bike because it’ll provide a sense of community on the streets, giving me motivation to conquer my urban cycling apprehension.

I witnessed the success of Denver B-cycle’s first year in 2010, and am eager to be a part (and founding member!) of NYC’s bike share as well. Convenient access to bike around the city without actually owning a bicycle (and needing adequate storage space), is yet another exciting prospect for a bike-share system coming to town. To all my fellow city folk, what are you most looking forward to when Citi Bike rolls around next month?

*Ed. It’s a team effort! 😉

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