After the rollout, the path to bike share begins

The app doesn’t work, there are problems at the racks, the bikes are heavy… etc., etc., etc. We doubt anyone was really expecting a smooth rollout to the city’s ambitious bike share program, which began on Monday.

Despite the glitches, it was inspiring to see riders out Memorial Day giving the new, blue bikes a spin.

It’ll be at least a few winters and springs before any of us know if the bike share program turns out to be a good idea, but we can say right now with confidence that it is an experiment well-worth making.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg and his bike-loving transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, deserve credit for ignoring the risks and making Citi Bike happen.

Bike share has the potential to make the city a much more livable place — particularly for younger New Yorkers crammed into apartments without room for a bicycle, and without a lower-cost way to get to work.

Lower Manhattan, with its poor east-west public transportation connections, is also a probable beneficiary.

It is hard to continue to grow this city economically without providing a way for more people to get to work. Some of our subway lines are overburdened at rush hour — and that’s before the World Trade Center and Hudson Yards have been built.

Ideally, our political leaders would have the will to make the mass transit investments we need — is it really a question of money when subway stations have lasted a century and counting? Costs for subway and other expansions should be spread out over decades.

That’s an issue for another time, but in the meanwhile, Citi Bikes expands our transportation network now.

We do sympathize with the complaints about particular bike rack locations. In many cases, they were placed with far too little community consultation. One of the advantages of the racks is that they easily can be moved or made smaller. We are pleased to see a few of these adjustments have already been made.

The city Dept. of Transportation needs to continue these conversations with communities to give bike share a better chance to succeed.

We will not be surprised to hear about more kinks in the system as Citi Bike expands this weekend from annual members to daily and weekly riders too.

But we’re going to try and keep our eyes on the street ahead, understanding we may have to back track once or twice to keep going in the right direction. Real change is not made overnight.

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2 Responses to After the rollout, the path to bike share begins

  1. Of the hundred or more commentaries on bike share I've seen so far, this one makes the most sense and sounds the most right notes. Particularly how the program could be a godsend for younger people with cramped budgets and apartments, and how it "expands our transportation network now." Well done.

  2. WPIX TV reported an incident of bike vs. SUV at Mc Dougal and Houston Street. The biked ran the red light…
    just what we don't want to happen. Not seriously hurt, but enough to make all of us concerned. Why was
    this incident never reported again in the print or TV news media? Cover up? Today, sat outdoors in
    a café for breakfast on where many bikes were in their docks. Why do so many riders go the wrong way
    or ride on the sidewalks? Fear? Lack of bike riding knowledge. Saw two very young riders….surely under
    age. Why? No one supervises the docks or those about to take a spin or returning their loan. I see lots
    of problems already. Is there anyone inn DOT ready to take on these serious issues?

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