BY COLIN MIXSON
Finally! Battery Park City residents can start living like civilized human beings.
Starting Monday, local cyclists needn’t bother parking their Citi Bikes themselves, and can instead hand them off to paid bike valets at the cycle-swapping program’s docking station at West and Chambers Sts., according to a very excited neighborhood honcho.
“We’re thrilled to launch Citi Bike Valet Service,” said Shari Hyman, president of the Battery Park City Authority.
The bike-sharing program allows cyclists to rent bikes at stations located throughout the city and park them at others, relieving commuters of the hassle of locking up their rides and fretting about their security.
Certain bustling docking destinations can, on occasion, fill up, forcing riders to either wait for a space to open, or to find some other Citi Bike dock where they can deposit their rental, essentially defeating the purpose of the otherwise sensible travel option.
Stationing valets at well-trafficked stations, however, makes finding a spot a non-issue. Employees paid by the Citi Bike program instead simply take the rides from cyclists and hold them until docking space is available.
The valets will also allow extra bikes to be on hand, covering commuters in the event the station runs dry.
The Battery Park City station was identified as the second-busiest in the Citi Bike system, second only to a Pershing Square station near Grand Central Terminal, according to authority spokesman Nick Sbordone.
As evidence, Sbordone presented figures that showed the Chambers St. docking station saw more than 27,000 riders in July.
The valets are out on Chambers St. weekdays from 7:30 am – 7:30 pm as part of a pilot program scheduled to run through Oct. 7.
If the service proves popular, the valets will be kept on until Nov. 4, Sbordone said.
Local stakeholders can only hope the program succeeds, and said the neighborhood needs as many bike valets as it can get.
“I am hopeful that the program goes well and that it’s expanded as needed.” said Jeff Mihok, who co-chairs Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee.