Citi Bike to expand in Manhattan and Brooklyn this summer

There will be 10,000 bright blue bikes on the streets of New York by the end of the year.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Motivate, the Citi Bike operator, announced Thursday that the bike share network will expand further into uptown Manhattan and south Brooklyn this summer.

New stations will come to Manhattan up to 110th Street, and in Brooklyn’s neighborhoods of Gowanus, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Red Hook and Park Slope.

“The recent growth and expansion of Citi Bike is great for New York City, and something we are proud to have helped secure,” said Mayor de Blasio in a statement. “My former neighbors in Park Slope will certainly welcome the blue bikes this summer, and their arrival in transit-deprived neighborhoods like Red Hook illustrates our continued commitment to strengthening all of our communities and fighting inequality.”

The expansion is set to begin this August and will involve the installation of about 140 new docks and about 2,000 bikes. The news comes just before Citi Bike’s three-year anniversary and shortly after the bike share celebrated 2015 as its busiest year, with more than 10 million total trips logged.

“We are thrilled that Citi Bike continues to grow and grows more convenient to more New Yorkers,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg in a statement. “With today’s announcement, Motivate will both add more neighborhoods to the bike-share network while also bringing more bikes and stations to established neighborhoods. With annual membership at about the cost of six weeks’ use of a monthly MetroCard, even more New Yorkers will have a new, fast and easy transportation option.”

To address station density, Motivate plans to place 42 of its new stations in already established Citi Bike areas, like the Upper West Side and Upper East Side. Currently, the network includes 470 stations below 86th Street in Manhattan, in Long Island City, Queens, and Brooklyn.

Transit advocates are thrilled about the success of Citi Bike, but continue to push for growth in other transit deserts, like Staten Island and The Bronx.

“The connectivity of the program is important so it’s a natural progression,” said Caroline Samponaro, deputy director of campaigns and organizing for Transportation Alternatives. “It’s a good sign that we can see it expand north,” but she added that a lot of neighborhoods are asking, “When’s it our turn?”

Officials and advocates are eagerly awaiting details for the unplanned phase three of Citi Bike expansion that they hope would widen the web out farther into north Harlem, South Bronx and maybe even Staten Island.

“Several months ago we met here at Borough Hall with Jay Walder and his team from Citi Bike,” said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo in a statement. “We expressed our hope that we can in some form bring Citi Bike to portions of Staten Island, particularly our North Shore. With the new projects coming online on the North Shore it seems like the obvious fit. The takeaway from the meeting is that they are definitely interested, and I am confident Citi Bike will eventually be on Staten Island.”

Oddo said the challenge on the Island is pinpointing stations that would sustain a healthy network serving commuters near the ferry, or possibly students at the College of Staten Island.

A Citi Bike membership costs $155 per year, with an option to pay in installments of $14.95 per month under an annual commitment.

Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez, who has championed bringing Citi Bike into less-affluent neighborhoods, said the growth was a solid step, though he’d like to see greater access and affordability.

“We are moving in the right direction with this latest expansion,” Rodriguez said in a statement.

“But now is the time to seriously consider adding public dollars so that this system can be used by New Yorkers in every borough,” he added, echoing his requests from a City Council budget hearing Tuesday.

“This network is now much more than a novelty for tourists, it is a public good that should be treated as such and subsidized so that New Yorkers living throughout all five boroughs can use it as well,” Rodriguez said at the hearing.

Citi Bike, for its part, recently announced discounted membership available to NYCHA residents and members of certain Community Development Credit Unions. Under the programs, discounted $60 annual memberships are billed in $5 monthly installments instead of one lump payment. IDNYC holders are also eligible for 15 percent discount in their first year of memberships.

“This year Citi Bike is getting bigger and even better,” said Jay Walder, President and CEO of Motivate, in a statement. “We are connecting the City like never before. And as we expand to new neighborhoods, we continue our efforts to invite more and more New Yorkers to try this healthy, convenient and fun way to get around.”