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Huge fan of citibikes

May 29, 2013

In spite of the nasty corporate connection to megabank Citigroup, I’m a huge of the new bike share program in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. I got my annual membership for $95 last week and activated it online and I already used it three times yesterday even though it was raining the whole time.

It helps that I work on 21st street near 6th avenue, which is one of the 300 stations so far set up with bikes. I biked downtown along Broadway to NYU to have lunch with Johan, and since we’d walked along Bleecker Street for some distance, I grabbed a bike from a different station on the way up along 6th.

Then later in the day I was meeting someone at Bryant Park so I biked up there, getting ridiculously wet but being super efficient. Now you know where my priorities are.

Here’s the map I’ve been staring at for the past week. It’s interactive, but just to give you an idea I captured a screenshot:

Screen Shot 2013-05-29 at 7.03.13 AM

Friday I’m meeting my buddy Kiri near her work in downtown Brooklyn for lunch. Yeah!!

Sign up today, people!

 

Categories: news
  1. mb
    May 29, 2013 at 8:01 am

    I notice not a single station in Harlem. The same in Boston. The poor residents subsidize through taxes bikes for the rich. Ugly.

    Like

    • May 29, 2013 at 8:07 am

      First of all it’s private. No taxes. Secondly there are expansion plans.

      Like

      • josh
        May 29, 2013 at 8:25 am

        But I agree with mb. The parks are becoming “private” too. How can we object to multi-million dollar gifts from John Paulson and others to Central Park (which I enjoy enormously). But the result is that public park funding can be cut. Savings for the taxpayer, the rich still have their beautiful park, others are not so lucky.

        Rather than the public sector doing what is should, private entities are providing public services to the rich and leaving the poor behind.

        I’ll take that back when they have good coverage north of 125th street but I’ll be quite surprised if that happens any time soon..

        But, you should enjoy it. And maybe it will motivate me to use my bicycle more
        .

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        • May 29, 2013 at 8:49 am

          Point taken, and I think I’ll write another post about all the problems with Citibike, including that it’s private.

          Like

        • David18
          May 29, 2013 at 10:26 am

          At the moment there is no coverage above 60th st. so the Upper West Side and Upper East Side is also not covered. This is certain to change.

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      • mb
        May 29, 2013 at 11:01 am

        who is orally? not me, can’t you see the ip? anyway private as in no tax dollars? you might want to check your info.

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        • May 29, 2013 at 11:11 am

          Sorry, that was my stupid phone’s spellcheck, I’ve fixed it to say “of all” now. Citibike is privately owned, see for example this.

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        • mb
          May 29, 2013 at 1:30 pm

          Do they pay rent for all the sidewalk space they takeup? nope. how about a fee for the web page you link (run by NYCDOT)? probably not. Now if the Koch brothers or Citibank helped an organization in the same way that was critical of OWS would you say they help fund the organization? That does not even go into the public grants alta bike company has received or the grants that were laundered through third party non profits (again how would describe that in the Koch/Citi/OWS context). I will leave it at this, you suffer from severe confirmation bias.

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        • May 29, 2013 at 1:39 pm

          How about all of that free and massively under-priced on-street parking? Where is the “rent” coming in from that use of public space?

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        • Abe Kohen
          May 29, 2013 at 1:45 pm

          Car registration. Parking fees. Parking fines. Bridge and tunnel tolls. Do bikes have any of that?

          Like

        • May 29, 2013 at 2:10 pm

          Laughing. That income doesn’t come anywhere close to covering the true cost of cars in a congested urban environment. We pay for our hypertrophic car culture with every polluted breath we take; every trillion-dollar middle-eastern war we make, and every pedestrian’s head we break. Cyclists pay taxes and cause no pollution, minimal congestion and harm. Read Donald Shoup on the economics of parking.

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        • Abe Kohen
          May 29, 2013 at 4:05 pm

          I’m glad you’re laughing. Much better than the alternative, even if it’s a non-sequitur. Yes, cyclists pay taxes, but so does everyone. Iraq and Afghanistan are a result of cars being driven in NYC? Vietnam, too? Wow! Minimal harm? Try watching elderly residents try to cross when cyclists obey no traffic signals and manage to hit quite a few pedestrians. But, while we are talking about cost it is worth considering that tolls subsidize mass transit and not the other way around. Furthermore, guess who is paying for all the streets ripped up to provide the bike lanes on behalf of City Bikes.True cost.

          Like

  2. JSE
    May 29, 2013 at 8:56 am

    New York, as usual, a little behind the rest of the country, but nice to see that bikesharing has arrived there!

    I was skeptical about Madison’s program when it launched

    http://quomodocumque.wordpress.com/2011/09/10/explain-to-me-why-i-should-use-madisons-new-bike-sharing-program/

    but now I’m an annual member. The use per ride in my case IS pretty high, but when you encounter a situtation in which you need one, it’s magnificently convenient and efficient.

    It seems perfectly designed for a place like New York, where a) it must be a bigger PITA to store a bike than it is here; and b) I imagine there’s more concern about bike theft than there is here.

    Like

    • May 29, 2013 at 8:58 am

      Exactly! One reason it’s a pain to bike to work is that there’s only one spot for parking my bike and it’s sometimes taken. Plus my previous bike was stolen from its locked position in the one hour I left it on a busy street. The truth is, most times you want to go somewhere about a mile or two away, and biking makes a huge amount of sense.

      Like

  3. May 29, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Very cool! Cathy, what do you do to protect one of your valuable assets – the brilliant head of yours? Do they provide helmets? Do you drag your own helmet everywhere you go or have you ran a risk model to justify no helmet approach?

    Like

    • May 29, 2013 at 10:02 am

      I’m incredibly defensive. But no I don’t carry a helmet. Maybe I should bring one to work though, good idea.

      Like

      • May 29, 2013 at 11:17 am

        I wrecked my son’s bike last week. Planted my face into the asphalt and needed 11 stitches around my right eye. The glasses I was wearing had relatively sharp edges and made the cuts. II was just turning ever so slightly when I passed through a small thin mud patch and the bike went down so fast there was no way to catch myself. First wreck in many years of adult riding. Not sure I’ll be riding on wet surfaces again. And, no, I wasn’t wearing a helmet but I can rationalize that I’m not sure how much good it would have done 😉

        Like

  4. Abe Kohen
    May 29, 2013 at 10:46 am

    I too would be for the bikes if it were possible to ride from the East Harlem to Bed-Stuy in the allotted 1/2 hour (or even 45 minutes for those on annual passes).
    I too would be for the bikes if it were safe to cross First Ave going East without getting run over by bikes running red lights in BOTH North and South directions.
    I too would be for the bikes if they didn’t block the entrance to Sloan-Kettering’s Rehab Center at 515 Madison (on E 53 St.).
    I could go on and on, but you get the drift. No helmets? WTF?

    Like

    • David18
      May 29, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      For trips longer than 30 (or 45) mins you can check the bike into a docking station and then check it out again.

      Like

      • Abe Kohen
        May 29, 2013 at 12:04 pm

        That’s a hack. Reminds me of the now bankrupt “Better Place.”

        Like

  5. May 29, 2013 at 11:29 am

    I would be for having cars in NYC except for the 270+ NYC vehicular-related deaths in 2012; none of those were pedestrians hit by cyclists. And except for the clogged streets and pollution and tremendous taxpayer subsidy for driving.

    Incremental change, people! This is how change happens. This is how the city will change for the better. Copenhagen is an inspiring model for how cycling can lead towards a safer, more livable, healthy city.

    Cyclists: Be safe. Be alert. Watch for wandering pedestrians and car doors. Wear a helmet. And above all, enjoy!

    Like

  6. FogOfWar
    May 29, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Is this “privately owned” or “privately funded”? There’s a big difference.

    I thought it was “privately funded”–which really means that Citi is writing out a big check to the City of New York to cover the operating & startup costs and in exchange is getting some extremely prominent advertising (nothing dramatically good or evil there and nothing really new). That’s not private ownership, any more than Dr. Zizimor “owns” the NYC Subway because he buys so much ad space there or, for that matter, that Citi “owns” the Mets because they play in “Citi Field”.

    Question is who has control over the program–I had though it was the City, not Citi (what a difference a letter makes).

    FoW

    Like

  7. David18
    May 29, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    BTW, there is a “citi bike” iphone app.

    Like

  8. rob
    May 30, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Frances Woolley at Worthwhile Canadian Initiative after reading the NYC feasibility study came to the ironic conclusion that bike shares have little impact on health, pollution, traffic congestion or tourism, but will relieve congestion on the subways. I guess finishing the 2nd Avenue subway wasn’t an option for any mayor, even this one. Here’s WCI
    http://worthwhile.typepad.com/worthwhile_canadian_initi/2013/05/bikeshare-programs-good-feelings-bad-economics.html
    and here’s the feasibility study
    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/transportation/bike_share_part2.pdf

    Like

  9. Abe Kohen
    May 30, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    UES to Midwood, Brooklyn.
    Car: 30 minutes (even with barriers on FDR, Brooklyn Bridge and BQE.)
    Mass Transit: 90 minutes (M86, 4, Q, and walk)
    City Bike: ??? NOT DOABLE.

    Like

    • FogOfWar
      June 2, 2013 at 8:29 am

      …bragging about paying nothing in rent and having actual space compared to anyone who lives in the city because you moved out to the sticks?

      Priceless.

      Like

      • Abe Kohen
        June 2, 2013 at 8:46 am

        I have to admit you earned your moniker with this non-sequitur.

        Like

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