New York City has made some triumphant strides towards bike-friendliness in the last few years: Specifically, more and better bike lanes now grace the city’s streets. As a result, ridership is spiking, and New Yorkers stand to embrace biking as a primary mode of transportation en masse. Next up: Bike-sharing. A public bike-share system in NYC has been a long time coming, but it’s almost here: The city has announced a partnership with Alta Bike Share, the company that runs systems in DC, London, and Montreal. And now for the best news: There will initially be 10,000 bikes, at 600 stations around the city.
That might not sound like a lot, when considering that NYC has more than 8 million residents. But considering how dense New York’s metropolitan areas are, it should provide ample access to those interested. And if the past provides any precedent, it likely won’t be long before the program is expanded (these programs are often extremely popular, as DC’s, Paris’s, and London’s have proved to be).
Here are some more details, via Streetsblog:
- Within the service area, which will stretch from the Upper West Side and Upper East Side to Bed Stuy and Greenpoint, New Yorkers will have access to 10,000 public bikes at about 600 stations.
- Annual memberships will cost under $100. Members will be able to make trips of up to 30 minutes at no charge.
- The stations will be sited with input from local communities, and the City Council will hold hearings on the program.
- The system must operate without public subsidy.
So the downside is that it appears that the bike share will be limited to Manhattan and Brooklyn (where biking is currently the most popular). Folks in the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island won’t be able to hop on a shared bike to commute. But alas, it’s a magnificent start. And 100 bucks for an annual membership is eminently reasonable, and the prospect of having a place to park your bike guaranteed is awesome indeed (lack of parking spots is still a major thorn in cyclists’ sides here).
Good biking infrastructure can transform the way a city moves while improving the quality of life for its residents — and NYC is now well on its way.
Image: Photo simulation of what NYC’s bike share will look like. NYC DOT