One of the most extensive bike share programs in the country, Citi Bike, rolled out 6,000 bikes at 300 stations across the city this week, but will the highly anticipated calamity ensue?
As comptroller and mayoral candidate John Liu says, the city isn’t ready, and it is possible that patrons may have a tough time on many of the city’s unprepared streets. However it is also possible the positives to the new program may have a chance to outweigh the evident negatives in the long term.
As public transit options like subways, buses and taxis become a pricy commodity, a gas and emission-free transit option is something this city needs.
Yes, there are a number of negative aspects to adding 6,000 bikes to Broadway, such as the possibility of theft, the inevitable loss of much-needed parking spaces, and the more looming threat of risking the safety of our tourists and daily commuters.
And at a first glance, the program still needs improvements. First and foremost the program needs a partnering “helmet share” plan next to these bicycle vending machines, as bikers are going to have a tough time staying safe.
But while there may be challenges to overcome, there is a need for an eco-friendly approach.
As long as the city plans to take advantage of the reimbursement from the 45-minute ride revenues from the $95 annual, $25 weekly and $9.95 daily plans, there is a chance to assist with road maintenance and investing in a comprehensive infrastructure plan to better suit the cycling influx.
(And if all goes well, the new program will help tackle another of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s pet projects: reigning in the obesity rate.)
So now that New Yorkers can emerge from the dark pits of their underground subway commute, they should embrace the exercise and the reduction in greenhouse emissions, an inevitable obligation that will need to be taken more seriously in the coming years.
There's a long way to go, but there's a way to make this a positive addition to New York City's streetscape.