After some bicycle controversy over the past year, New York City’s Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has rolled out plans for a massive bike sharing program across Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Consisting of about 600 stations with 10,000 bikes, the scheme is said to go from the Upper East and Upper West sides down to the lower tip of Manhattan, and over the bridges into Brownstone Brooklyn, reaching Greenpoint and Crown Heights. The goal is for the bike sharing program to serve many different trips for different types of tourists and commuters, in order to maximize usage and overall benefits of the program.
Alta Bike Share of Portland, Oregon will install and manage the system in a public-private partnership. This is the same firm that launched Capital Bike Share in Washington D.C. in 2010, which expanded this year, as well as the New Balance Hubway in Boston. These are considerably smaller schemes than the one planned for New York, which will replace Capital Bike Share as the largest bike sharing program in the country.
The program will have 24-hour, multi-day and even annual subscriptions available. Sponsors will be brought in for revenue, with any profit shared with the city. The first 30 minutes are expected to be free, which is the case in other programs, with fees for each 30 minutes thereafter. An annual membership is expected to cost less than a monthly MetroCard.
Concerns have been raised that the stations may be located on sidewalks that are too narrow, or that they’d be placed in valuable parking spaces or inappropriate locations.
This bike sharing method has proven to be successful in other cities, and if done right, could have a positive impact on New York City both economically and environmentally.
If this program was available in your city (if you’re not in one of the cities mentioned), would you rent a bike for your work commute and skip the metro?