The blue bikes are coming! Greenpoint, Carroll Gardens, more getting Citi Bike

The Brooklyn Paper
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Brooklyn is getting a bigger share of the city’s private bike-share program two years after Hurricane Sandy soaked much of the inventory intended for the borough.

A big-time real estate developer bought Alta Bicycle Share, the troubled parent company of the Citi Bike program, and is pumping $30 million into expanding the footprint of the blue New York bikes, according to a Capital New York report. The system is adding 6,000 bikes and more than 375 stations, per a Citi Bike blog post. Brooklyn neighborhoods first in line for stations are Greenpoint and Bushwick, and also on the list are Carroll Gardens, Red Hook, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Prospect Heights, Park Slope, Gowanus, Crown Heights, and Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Docks were originally slated to go further into Williamsburg and Bedford-Stuyvesant, and into Greenpoint, but those plans were dashed when saltwater from Sandy surged into the Navy Yard, where two-thirds of the gear for the program’s initial rollout was being stored, according to a DNAinfo report. Following through on those installations won’t take much heavy lifting now that the money has appeared to pay for it, a company rep said.

“In many places, we have already done the work,” said Dan Simons, spokesman for NYC Bike Share, the freshly minted Citi Bike management company run by new owner Related Companies. “We just need to go back there and make sure that nothing major has changed with land use.”

Now that the stations are back on track, and headed even further afield, reactions among Brooklynites are decidedly mixed. One Greenpoint resident freaked out by rising rents said that the arrival of the bikes heralds further Disneyfication of her beloved neighborhood.

“They are going to put these in the streets and that is going to kill the whole Old Brooklyn thing,” said Zuhal Danyildiz. “This neighborhood gets more gentrified by the day.”

Another resident said the bikes are not meant for real Greenpointers.

“The people who live here have bikes of their own,” said Barbara Wyskoswki. “This is going to be a thing for tourists and bring more of them here. We do not need that.”

But one resident we polled said the influx of blue steeds would be a boon to her when she is hosting out-of-town guests.

“I have a bike, but sometimes friends come to visit and I have had to take them very far away to get Citibikes. I had to take my dad to Park Slope to find one,” said Emily Laue. “This will be easier.”

In other neighborhoods, such as Red Hook and Carroll Gardens, the city will have to start from scratch to plan locations for docks.

One Carroll Gardens resident who, along with neighborhood activists and outgoing Assemblywoman Joan Millman (D–Carroll Gardens), lobbied for a dock at Union and Smith streets, said the more stations there are in the area, the merrier Brooklyn cyclists will be.

“I think you will see a lot more usage within Brooklyn,” said Gary Reilly, a member of the local community board.

Compared to Manhattan, Brooklyn has had low levels of CitiBike ridership, and data from the beginning of the year showed all of the least-used docks were in Brooklyn, according to the New York Post. But Reilly and other bike advocates say the demand is there and just needs a larger and more convenient network to be tapped.

“We haven’t really had the same level of saturation here as in Manhattan to really make it an intra-borough option,” Reilly said. “That is going to change as they add new docks, open new spaces, and expand the network.”

The ability to saddle up around the corner from his house would cut out the hassle of hauling his wheels up and down the stairs of his third floor walk-up. It would also give him a quick way to travel between geographically close areas — Carroll Gardens and Prospect Heights, for example — which require roundabout public transit trips, he said.

“Citi Bike would really open up an option for some people to get across town,” he said. “The extra bit of effort of moving your bike can dissuade people from hopping on a bike, but with Citi Bike they would be off to the races.”

The car-centric areas below Prospect Park, the borough’s proverbial Mason-Dixon line, will be spared the bike-share program, for now.

Announcement of the Alta sale coincided with the naming of Jay Walder as the company’s new head. Walder abruptly left his post as Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman in 2011 to run Hong Kong’s transportation system, then resigned there this summer after a high-speed rail project he was in charge of ran over-budget and two years beyond-schedule.

The first wave of expansion will take place in 2015 and the rest is set to wrap up in 2017, Citi Bike said.

But all the new equipment comes with a price. Citi Bike is increasing the cost of an annual membership from $95 to $149. Public housing residents and members of certain credit unions will retain their discounted $60 rate.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
I keep a list of things that people claim are Disney. Now I get to add bikeshare programs.
Oct. 30, 2014, 4:51 pm
Rob from Greenpoint says:

I am a "real" Greenpointer, I own my own bike, and I use bike share. I am thrilled it's finally coming here. So leave your nonsense in your head.
Oct. 31, 2014, 6:41 am
Brooklyner from Bklyn says:
NYC native and I can't wait for Citi Bike!
Oct. 31, 2014, 8:31 am
Mathew Smithburger from Manhattan says:
We shouldn't conflate a civilized and efficient mode of transportation with Disneyfication.
Oct. 31, 2014, 8:52 am
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
Ok. I am aznamerican boy from NYC suburbia, I keep a bike & car. So its a win-win situation to promote bikes.
I like the suburbanization of the BK. perhaps the Portlandiafication of Bk.
So for all you fat lazy people go make use of the bike lanes and parks. And bikes dont need to be expensive.
Oct. 31, 2014, 8:57 am
marshmop from broooklyn says:
Another Greenpoint resident remarked, "This will give everyone another option to get around the neighborhood. Why can't people just be happy with what they have? I hate options."
Oct. 31, 2014, 8:59 am
marshmop from broooklyn says:
bkbanhatman: What? Reducing car usage by providing other modes is urbanization. Cars are anti-urban.
Oct. 31, 2014, 9 am
Jeff from Greenpoint says:
Why is this being phrased as a culture war? Transportation in Greenpoint sucks. Especially around McGolrick Park, we've got the B48, a long walk to the G train (yippee), or a crazy long walk to the L train. Sorry I can't afford a car. I'll try to be wealthier next time.

We need more low-cost transportation options. This is a low-cost transportation option.
Oct. 31, 2014, 9:22 am
Resident from Brooklyn says:
It would be nice if after all these years the Brooklyn Paper could retire it's idiotic "Mean Streets" logo. What's mean about our streets is that drivers keep killing people at a rate of about one every two days.
Oct. 31, 2014, 9:29 am
Mickey Mouse from Disney World says:
I wish we had bikeshare in my neighborhood!
Oct. 31, 2014, 10:57 am
Josh from Cobble Hill says:
Fantastic, it's about time! IMO it was a big miss not to have docks reaching down to Red Hook (another neighborhood that's underserved by existing options) in the first place.
Oct. 31, 2014, 11:19 am
NotDieHipster from RealRealBrooklyn says:
I came here expecting tons of hate in the comments. I'm glad that's not the case. I don't understand the hate against bike sharing programs. Find something real to be angry about.
Oct. 31, 2014, 12:57 pm
ty from pps says:
bad news for bike shop owners. all those people who worked so hard to make bike riding cool again.
Oct. 31, 2014, 2:35 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I wonder what will happen when the snow starts arriving and the docks will be seen always full with snow all over them making them feel like a waste of space.
Oct. 31, 2014, 2:51 pm
scott from park slope says:
Tal, snow inconveniences all modes of travel. You are decrying a citibike station while ignoring all the cars that get plowed in and constitute a much more intractable obstruction. Bikes are generally a superior way to get around the city. You become immune to traffic, arrive faster, get some low-impact exercise, and see a lot more. I own a folding mountain bike that I pop into a shoulder bag, so citibike doesn't do much for me, but it's nice to have another option. after all sometimes you can't get a taxi and the MTA shuts down for repairs and you're too loathe to lose your parking spot to drive.
Oct. 31, 2014, 3:17 pm
Jomellani Ginadloone from Red Hook says:
The anti-bike morons never seem to appreciate that the more people who RIDE...

Means 1) less cars and 2) generally MORE parking for cars... if not in every single location...

Let's say even 10 out of every 100 new cyclists decided to buy/lease a car instead...

But you can't talk sense to these knuckleheads, nor the bottom X% of idiot cops (I have much respect for the Y% of excellent cops).
Oct. 31, 2014, 3:29 pm
ty from pps says:
That was a stupid comment fake Ty from pps. The good bike shops know that bikes beget bikes. The expansion of CitiBikes bring more interest in cycling... the more interest in cycling, the more pressure to improve cycling infrastructure... the better the infrastructure, the more attractive cycling is... the more attractive cycling is, the more bicycles bike shop sell and the more maintenance and repairs they perform.
Oct. 31, 2014, 4:01 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- You do recall we had a winter last year too, right? This isn't the first one.
Oct. 31, 2014, 4:02 pm
Sam from Kensington says:
What about my neighborhood? It's backwaters like Kensington that need an easy, healthy means of egress to more gentrified, or at least more interesting, neighborhoods.
Oct. 31, 2014, 4:25 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
"The anti-bike morons never seem to appreciate that the more people who RIDE..."

Nobody who has concerns with the way cyclists act are against bicycles as a whole. All we ask is for them to behave responsibly and follow the rules of the road just like everyone else. Is that too much to ask for? Some of you bike zealots really need to stop by saying that you can only be with us or against us when that can actually turn off those on the fence. Unfortunately, not everyone can ride a bicycle, and last time I checked, Citibike did have weight limits to who can use them. Of course members should accept the increase in membership fees, because most taxpayers are against funding this seeing that it was originally promised to not to use any from your old pal Bloomberg, who could have easily provided the funding himself when it was in bad shape recently.
Oct. 31, 2014, 4:28 pm
Joe from Greenpoint says:
Another native New Yorker thrilled to finally get Citibike in my neighborhood!

We also need more protected bike lanes, and enforcement against agressive and dangerous drivers of motorized vehicles, to make sure the streets are safe for all!
Oct. 31, 2014, 6:18 pm
Brian Van from Gramercy says:

No one will notice that CitiBike docks will be taking up space under mounds of snow.

Because they'll be obscured by mounds of snow.

Along with your car.
Oct. 31, 2014, 7:03 pm
Virginia from Prospect Point says:

I only have one leg - bicycles discriminate against the handicapped. There is not one mouth operated monocycle in the city's fleet.
The machines are not written in braille, thereby excluding the blind.
People with no hands cannot operate the hand-based steering system.
Those who suffer from extreme hemerroids are unable to sit for prolonged periods - yet no none-butt seating options are available.
Oct. 31, 2014, 7:25 pm
hiss from gp says:
I identify bloated SUV family vans packed with fat coca-cola swigg'n brats dressed in plastic anime costumes ready for guilt-free church with Disney, more so than with bikes. And I'm not a Republican Indepent bazillionaire.
Nov. 1, 2014, 1:20 pm
fizz from gp says:
no with. without? ...end
Nov. 1, 2014, 1:38 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
If Citibike goes into another financial crisis, they should receive absolutely NO taxpayer dollars and must fail own its own only.
Nov. 1, 2014, 2:11 pm
ty from pps says:
Oh, Tal... sweet, Tal.
Nov. 1, 2014, 2:34 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ty, my point is that if Citibike needs life support, it can't come from the taxpayers. Only private donors should be doing this. Bloomberg did originally say that no taxpayer dollars should be used for this, and that word should be kept. I just hope that De Blasio won't call for taxpayer subsidies for Citibike as he didn't recently for JP Morgan Chase to locate at the Hudson Yards by rejecting them. Overall, if it can't succeed on its own, then it fails on its own.
Nov. 1, 2014, 3:25 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- Has there been ANY hint by ANYONE that taxpayer money would be used for the bike share system?! Hmmm? Your constant whining about things that aren't real is very irritating. Whining about the non-existent taxpayer support. Whining about the non-existent horrors caused by bicycles. Whining about everything based on your warped imagination. I mean, I certainly wouldn't want our lives in the city to cause any problems for you in Pleasantville. Oh no!
Nov. 1, 2014, 4:14 pm
frog from marsh says:
Just trying to catch up with the more advanced civilizations,
Nov. 1, 2014, 7:34 pm
Brooklyn from Yours says:
Citi Bike is good for NYC. Our city is very densely populated and encouraging more bicycle usage is a win. More bikes means less people on other modes of transportation. It's also good for the health of the population.
Nov. 1, 2014, 9:45 pm
bird from tree branch says:
Nov. 1, 2014, 10:13 pm
Brooklyn from Yours says:
Dock location suggestion tool.
Nov. 1, 2014, 10:21 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Some may try to think that the bike share is perfect and flawless, but there have been those online that have stated otherwise. On a Daily News article similar to this one, there was a comment stating that it was much easier to buy a bicycle rather than to use this program even though it costed a lot more than the membership fees especially with the number of times the key flop didn't work. Meanwhile, John McEnroe on the NY Post and Hindy Schachter over on the Daily News mentioning that cyclists really can be a threat and that recent accident over in Central Park just shows that it really does exist and shouldn't be taken lightly, and the links are below for anyone who wants to read them.
Nov. 2, 2014, 4:30 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
as usual Tal is correct
Nov. 2, 2014, 5:49 pm
ty from pps says:
maybe i should rethink the bike thing, but I have to start to think first, instead of emote.
Nov. 2, 2014, 6:10 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal is adorable.
Nov. 2, 2014, 11:48 pm
Pat from Park Slope says:
Generally, the bike haters are the ones who could most use the exercise! Just learn how to ride and change your bitter little lives.
Nov. 3, 2014, 10:51 am
marshmop says:
"Tal" read the Hindy Schacter again.

"At present, the government allocates almost all traveling space to automobiles. Cyclists and pedestrians share the leftover slivers. This pattern allows car drivers to see themselves as central to the urban way of life and other travelers as a trivial nuisance.

"That leaves cyclists frightened, particularly as they traverse Manhattan streets — a perception that sometimes leads bicycle riders to intrude on pedestrian space."
Nov. 3, 2014, 11:47 am
Ted from The cronks says:
“The people who live here have bikes of their own,” said Barbara Wyskoswki. “This is going to be a thing for tourists and bring more of them here. We do not need that.”

Yeah, we're fine without extra money to keep our little ma and pa shops running. We'd rather them close down and become banks and starbucks.
Nov. 3, 2014, 2:05 pm
John from Greenpoint says:
This is excellent, more clueless bicyclists slowing down Manhattan Avenue and McGuiness Boulevard instead of taking bike laned side streets! Whoopee!
Nov. 3, 2014, 2:15 pm
Talisman from Village says:
Rebuttals to the above nay-sayers:

1) Tourists rarely use Citibike - it's too expensive to use short-term and biking in NYC is really scary even if you're familiar with how to deal with our insane driving culture. Even if a few tourists use it, almost NO ONE uses it to cross the East River (Citibikes are too heavy to pump across bridges), hence, no additional tourists are going to come to Wmsbrg/Greenpoint because of Citibike. Criticism of Citibike on this basis just shows you're completely unfamiliar with it.

2) Citibike gets no taxpayer funding (that's why it's named after a BANK, duh!), but so what if it did? IT'S BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT than cars or taxis, and governments should be in the habit of encouraging such behavior, instead of promoting car ownership/use, which government does at just about every turn. If gas taxes fully paid for all the infrastructure our government builds for cars & trucks, a gallon of gas would cost twice what it does. This is a fact.

3) The hostility of people against the way bicyclists handle themselves in traffic is understandable IN SOME CASES when riders _carelessly_ disregard traffic laws (although most of those are food delivery bikers). But people's fundamental hostility to bikers comes from a prejudice that biking isn't serious transportation, that if you're not a pedestrian, or on the subway, and not in a car, then you must just be on the road for kicks, and therefore bikers should yield first, to both cars and to pedestrians. I ride Citibike every day, and I'm a pedestrian every day, and I've driven a car hundreds of times in NYC and bikers engage in the LEAST unsafe behavior of all these. Bikesters are the MOST vulnerable because we share a space with traffic - pedestrians aren't supposed to - so we are MUCH more alert to dangers than either peds or drivers. A bike running a red light, when there's no opposing traffic and no pedestrians in the way, is categorically not the same danger as a car. Bikes can, and do, stop on a dime - cars can't. Bikes weigh 30 lbs., cars way 2500 lbs.

4) Objections to the bike bays being covered in snow assume that the Dept. of Transportation isn't responsible for salting the bike bay areas. It _is_ responsible, just as for the rest of the road, and just as property owners are responsible for their sidewalks.

5) The biggest news-flash for non-bikers is this: bikes are as entitled to be on the road, legally, as cars - and because cars are massively bigger and faster, they are _required_ to yield to bikes. Bikes should obey traffic laws and keep to the side of the street, and 99% of the time we do, but when there's an ice-bank and/or a trough of potholes where cars & pedestrians would like bikes to stay, we have every right to cautiously enter traffic to avoid obstacles, without being honked at by cabbies and yelled at by pedestrians.
Feb. 28, 2015, 1:19 pm

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