2013-09-27 / Columnists

From The Councilman’s Desk

Bring Citi Bike to Rockaway
By Councilman Eric Ulrich

The Citi Bike system, operated by NYC Bike Share, features thousands of bikes at hundreds of stations around New York City. The privately financed program — called Citi Bike, after lead sponsor Citigroup Inc. — allows any person over the age of 16 to rent a bicycle for a 30-45 minute ride and then return it to any station throughout the system. Since its official launch earlier this year, Citi Bike has been an enormous success. Unfortunately, if you live in Rockaway, Citi Bike is not an option since the concept of bike sharing has not been expanded to any neighborhood in Queens.

According to the operator, station locations are based on population and transit needs, and were selected through a participatory public input process. By every measure, Rockaway meets these criteria. Even the occasional bike critic, such as yours truly, can appreciate the idea of using bike sharing as yet another transportation option for getting around the peninsula.

The stations in Manhattan have a touchscreen kiosk, a map of the service area and surrounding neighborhood, and a docking system that releases bikes for rental with a card or key. Some of these docks could be installed at key locations on Beach 116th Street, Beach 129th Street, the Beach 108th Street Ferry Terminal, and on the newly constructed boardwalk (whenever that happens) for instance. This would prove to be a boom to the local economy, helping to create more jobs and support many of the small businesses that are still struggling to recover from Hurricane Sandy. It would also be a fun way for tourists to visit the Rockaways during the beach season.

Rockaway is ripe for a bike sharing system. In fact, many residents already bike to work, school, church and/or to run errands. A fleet of Citi Bikes would only add to the Rockaway renaissance post Sandy. After attending numerous meetings/town halls/rallies on rebuilding our transportation infrastructure, one thing is clear; residents are yearning for smart and creative solutions to some of the logistical problems that have plagued the peninsula for far too long.

Let’s think outside the box and give Citi Bike a ticket to ride in Rockaway.

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