Can a bike share program succeed in NYC?
May 22, 2012 | 12601 views | 1 1 comments | 444 444 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The city's recent progress on implementing its bike share program was good news for alternative transit advocates and those simply concerned with the growing congestion on not only the area's roadways, but the city's mass transit services.

We just hope it is successful.

We are a little skeptical that people who don't already see bicycling as a viable mass transit option are going to all of a sudden embrace the option and start biking 20 blocks uptown or crossing the Queensboro or Williamsburg bridge under pedal power rather than taking the subway or bus, especially on particularly hot or cold days.

People who already choose bicycling as a form of commuting or transportation probably already have their own bike and will choose to use that rather than one of the city's bikes, which they will have to pay a fee to utilize.

If that's the case, then the city's new bike share program will likely become a service for tourists or the casual bike rider, who will choose the option on the weekend or a particularly nice day, which we don't think was what the city intended when it conceived of a bike share program.

If that's the case, we don't know if it's great idea, given the city's current infrastructure issues when it comes to making streets safe for bicyclists, if a group of novices suddenly take to the streets. Roadways are already dangerous enough for seasoned bike riders, imagine the controversy the first time a tourist gets seriously injured or, worse yet, killed, biking in Manhattan on a bike the city provided to them.

Which isn't to say we aren't rooting for the bike share program. Any transit options the city can provide are welcome, and since Citi Bike, as it is called, has a financial sponsor, the fiscal risks to the city are, in the bigger scheme of things, minimal.

Because if the bike share program does succeed, perhaps it will prompt the city to offer similar alternatives to larger parts of New York City, because let's face it, as currently constituted the program is aimed at a very small part of the city's residents, mostly out of necessity for a pilot program, but still relatively exclusive as currently constituted.

And the neighborhoods that will get the first bike share locations are already relatively well-served by subway and bus service.

But a successful bike share program could inspire the city to start thinking outside the box when it comes to addressing the larger transit issues that a majority of outer borough residents deal with on a daily basis.

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May 23, 2012
I am a regular bicyclist and even commute in to Manhattan from Queens now and then, so I certainly have my own bike and use it. But I am very excited about the prospect of BikeShare. Most days I don't use my bike to commute into the city for one reason or another; reasons that usually wouldn't bar me from using a bike later in the day. Having a bike readily accessible that I can pull form the rack nearby to run out to a new place for lunch, go cross-town to a meeting or run down to the Courts, or to use after I get off the subway to finish the last leg of the trip to a meeting, would be great. And many people do not have bicycles stored in their cramped apartments but would definitely make use of them as part of their commutes or to do their daily living chores. Also as the number of bicyclists on the streets increase the safer it is becoming not just for bicyclists but for all users of the road. More bikes means more visibility, means motorists slow down, means safer streets. And the statistics so far are proving this. There will certainly be growing pains, but on balance biking should become a serious transportation option and the streets safer.