Citi Bike Rides Into Queens But Stops Short

A Personal Perspective

Bike-Share finally crossed the bridges from Manhattan into Queens and Brooklyn this week and made its way through the tunnel into Jersey City as well.

This week, City Hall fulfilled a two year-old promise to bring Citi Bike into Long Island City, with Astoria soon after on the list, to get a station with the ubiquitous blue bikes for short-term rent as well.

The program, which started in Manhattan during the last term of the Bloomberg administration, was part of that mayor’s 2030 plan to make New York the greenest big city in America. But one has to wonder why New Jersey, before the Bronx and Staten Island, and why just Long Island City with Astoria soon to receive and not the rest of Queens?

The roll out this week included many parts of Brooklyn but lest the mayor forget, Queens is much more than Long Island City and Astoria.

We also have Jamaica, Flushing, Whitestone, Sunnyside, Bayside, Douglaston and so many other places that could use the convenience of the bike-share program.

True, rollouts are usually done in phases, but must everything start in Long Island City just because it’s the entrance from Manhattan into Queens? Or maybe it’s because it is now considered the coolest part of the borough?

Whatever the reason, the rest of this vibrant borough counts too and we are looking forward to seeing this carbon-free mode of transportation zooming throughout the entire borough and city in a short while.

It is always great to see a successor recognize a good idea and keep and expand it, as has been the case of Mayor Bill de Blasio succeeding Bloomberg. The bicycles provide more than just light, convenient transportation – particularly in the warmer months – but in the aggregate, they will help us to be less dependent on the over-priced gas.

They will also help to decongest our busy streets as they are smaller and more maneuverable in narrow spaces. Currently, Jamaica Avenue and many other streets are so congested we try to avoid them during the busiest times of the day – roughly 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. For those who will use Citi Bikes, they will experience a nimbleness of transportation mode not known in more than half a century.

Jay Walder, a former MTA Chairman, who now serves as CEO of Citi Bike parent company Motivate, has said that the long delay into the “outer boroughs” and beyond was well spent as the technology for operating both the bikes and the stations, has improved.

“We are delivering on a bigger and better Citi Bike,” said Walder, who in 2009 resigned from the MTA to manage MTR Corporation, a transportation company in Hong Kong.

Let’s see how long it takes for Citi Bike to make its way from Long Island City to Jamaica.

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