Since the bikeshare was launched last summer, the city has been flooded with 6,000 blue shareable bikes and hundreds of stations across southern Brooklyn and Manhattan. But even though lower Manhattan is teaming with bike share stations, the northernmost Citi bike station is at 60th Street- just above Columbus Circle. And although the city has been planning to launch Phase II of the bikeshare program for quite some time- which would reach Upper Manhattan, other parts of Brooklyn and Queens—it hasn’t happened yet.
So why hasn’t the program launched yet in upper Manhattan? The answer is simply that the city ran out of money. The program was initially set to launch in 2012, with phase II coming in 2013, according to the DOT. But after Hurricane Sandy hit and devastated the city, so much of the CitiBike equipment was destroyed, said Tom Devito with Transportation Alternatives. The original funds for the expansion then had to be re-allocated to fix the equipment.
But even if bike shares do come to the Upper West and East Side, they’ll likely be met with opposition from anti-bike-lane and pedestrian safety advocates.
Additional bike share funding could either come from another private donor like Citigroup, or Councilwoman Gale Brewer is trying to encourage the DOT to ask for phase II of the project to be federally funded. In a letter to the DOT, she notes that Chicago is expanding its bike share program with a $5 million grant from the US Department of Transportation. “Is NYC DOT seeking federal funding for this program? If not, why?” Brewer has noted that the DOT has yet to respond to her letter of three weeks ago.
When asked about the funding options, Nicholas Mosquera, a representative from the DOT, stated, “We have said since the beginning that we wished to expand to additional portions of the city, including the Upper East and West sides, as soon as possible, but that any such expansion beyond the previously announced service areas will require additional sponsorship funding. DOT and NYC Bike Share continue to look into multiple funding options.”
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