June 13, 2013 By Christian Murray
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer held a press conference on the steps of City Hall this afternoon and demanded that the Citi Bike Share program come to Long Island City as soon as possible.
Bike Share is scheduled to arrive in Long Island City between September and the end of the year. However, Van Bramer said Long Island City needs them sooner. Furthermore, he said, there is a need for Department of Transportation to bring Bike Share to other Western Queens neighborhoods and to set a date as to when those bikes would arrive.
“There are already 36,000 members of bike share (citywide)…and I want these members to be able to come to Long Island City, Astoria and Sunnyside, “ Van Bramer said.
“Bike Share will help drive tourists to Western Queens…and would help bring people to the world class cultural institutions and restaurants in the area,” Van Bramer said. Furthermore, “the population of Western Queens is exploding and new [residential units] are going up every day. ”
The district is ready for bike share, since there are already plenty of bike lanes in Western Queens, advocates say. The Queensboro Bridge now features improved bike access. Also, developments like the Queens East River and North Shore Greenway in Astoria have added bike lanes—and there is now access from northern Astoria to Brooklyn.
Furthermore,“The No. 7 and N trains are overcrowded,” said Dominic Stiller, president of Dutch Kills Civic Association. “I would rather ride a bike…and it’s good for getting to work.” He said many of the hotels in the LIC/Dutch Kills area are also calling for a Citi Bike docking stations to be located near them.
Meanwhile, Adrian Bordoni, executive director of Woodside on the Move, a grass roots community organization, said Woodside didn’t want to be left out of Citi Bike Share. “We want to connect with people from Sunnyside, Astoria and Long Island City.”
The Department of Transportation is installing 10 docking stations in Long Island City. Long Island City is the only section of the borough that’s currently part of the Bike Share roll out.
The Department of Transportation could not immediately be reached for comment. However, in April, the agency said “we are working to bring bike share stations to that neighborhood [Long Island City] as soon as possible … and there will be a chance to expand in the future based on demand and resources.”
1) Queensboro Plaza
2) Court Square Station
3) Vernon Blvd/Jackson Ave.
4) 5th Street and 48th Street
5) 11th Street and 45th Rd.
6) 21st Street and 43rd Ave.
7) Jackson Ave and 46th Ave.
8) 54th Ave. and 2nd Street
9) La Guardia Community College
10) 21st/Queensbridge station
Look. The bottom line is that New York needs a bike share program. Washindton DC, Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Boston, Miami Beach, Kansas City, New Paultz, San Francisco, Hoboken, and even Mexico City have bike share programs. We are the greatest city in America.
Whenever there are changes in our city, people get upset. But, just because you don’t ride bikes doesn’t mean you should stop all of Western Queens from having the option to use the program. This won’t even take up parking. The difference between Sunnyside and other great neighborhoods is that ours looks like a highway!
Way to go Van Bramer. Way to go Community leaders.
Over the last two weekends, I’ve seen a handful of cyclists hurriedly riding Bike Share bikes around the Vernon-Jackson area. The nearest stations are miles away, either at Metropolitan Avenue in Brooklyn or around E 60th Street in Manhattan. With a 30- or 45-minute check out period, they either are misunderstanding the concept of the bike share, incurring massive late fees, or only passing through our western Queens hamlets. Imagine if these riders could dock them and hang out a while. Our local businesses would undoubtedly beneift.