By Bill Parry
Citi Bike will have its long-awaited rollout in Long Island City early in August, with docking stations installed at 12 locations around the neighborhood. The new service is part of a plan announced in October that would double the size of the bike-sharing fleet of blue bikes on city streets from 6,000 to 12,000.
“This is the start of something big.” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “Citi Bike is rolling into the outer boroughs like never before. That means hundreds of thousands more New Yorkers will have a fast, sustainable, low-cost transportation option.
Long Island City was supposed to be part of the original Citi Bike roll-out two years ago, but Hurricane Sandy destroyed much of the equipment that was stored in flooded warehouses. Stations will be established at MoMA PS1, the Vernon-Jackson No. 7 subway station, the Long Island City LIRR station and Queensboro Plaza, among other locations.
The Department of Transportation and Motivate, the company that runs the program, chose the locations based on community feedback during a series of public meetings. Long Island City is the first neighborhood in Queens to get Citi Bike. Astoria and Sunnyside will be included in the next expansion.
“The long-awaited arrival of Citi Bike in Long Island City is great news,” state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said. “Bike share will allow the people to enjoy our neighborhood in a healthy, fun way and facilitate easier travel around western Queens, an area in dire need of better mass transit. I am thrilled to see western Queens being given the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of Citi Bike and look forward to its further expansion into more of our neighborhoods.”
An annual Citi Bike membership costs $149 with a daily pass available for $9.95. Discounted Citi Bike memberships are also available to residents of affordable housing developments, while access is free to community-based organizations for group rides.
“Cycling in western Queens has become extremely popular and the addition of 12 new Citi Bike docking stations adds a much-needed alternative mode of transportation to an area of the borough that is growing and vibrant, and in need of transportation options.”
Long Island City features five waterfront parks, nearly 30 arts and cultural institutions and venues and more than 150 restaurants, bars and other venues. A new bike lane on the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge and another on the Pulaski Bridge set to open by the end of this year will bring more visitors from the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, both of which are included in the expansion.
“Increased connectivity is fundamental to the growth and development of New York City and I’m thrilled to learn that our bike-sharing system will be arriving in western Queens,” U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) said. “It’s imperative that we continue to make these types of investments to meet the needs of those communities with limited transportation options. That’s why I’ve also introduced my Bike to Work Act that would allow workers to use their pre-tax commuter benefits for bike-share programs like Citi Bike.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr