April 23, 2013 Staff Report
Two local politicians are calling on the Department of Transportation to expand the Citi Bike program beyond Long Island City and bring it to Astoria, Sunnyside and Woodside.
The Citi Bike program is scheduled to debut next month, with the DOT rolling out 6,000 bikes at nearly 330 stations in Manhattan (south of 59th Street) and in sections of Brooklyn.
Long Island City is expected to be receiving the bikes in September. The area was not originally going to get the bikes—however Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer persuaded DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan to expand the program to the neighborhood at the eleventh hour.
Nevertheless, areas such as Astoria, Sunnyside and Woodside have not been included to date and Van Bramer and State Sen. Mike Gianaris are requesting that the DOT include them.
“I urge the DOT and Citi Bike to set a firm date for when all of Western Queens will enjoy the bike sharing stations,” Mike Gianaris said. “We want the DOT to recognize Western Queens as a priority area.”
However, Nicholas Mosquera, a spokesman for the DOT, said in an e-mail that “the bikes are being placed in the densest contiguous parts of the city.” He added that “there will be a chance to expand in the future based on demand and resources.”
The Citi Bike system, when fully operational, will include 10,000 bicycles at 600 stations, with many in Long Island City.
Riders can sign up for a $95 annual membership, which allows unlimited 45-minute rides. A 24-hour pass costs $9.95, while a seven-day pass goes for $25.
The DOT started selling memberships on April 15.