Elected officials and bike advocates celebrated the latest progress in Citi Bike's ongoing expansion Wednesday morning, gathering outside Broadway Junction in Brooklyn for a ribbon-cutting and station unveiling in the biting cold.
The new docking points—at Van Sinderen Avenue and Truxton Street—represents the bike-share system's easternmost presence to date. It's part of an ongoing Phase 3 expansion that will double Citi Bike's service area and more than triple the number of available bikes by 2023.
“Broadway Junction brings together so many eastern Brooklyn neighborhoods—and with bike share now added to extensive bus and subway service, it will become even more of a transportation hub," Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in a statement.
Good news for people who like bike news, certainly. But sadly lost in all that cheering is any mention of pedal-assist. That fleeting, glimmering shooting star of the cycle-share cosmos, you'll recall, disappeared without warning more than six months ago. Time and time again we have asked the people at Lyft, which now owns Citi Bike: Where have all the e-bikes gone? Time and time again, they have said: nothing.
It's now been 202 days since the e-bikes were pried from our not-yet-gloved hands. At the time, Lyft cited a "stronger than expected" braking force that, thanks to the company's decision not to use a manufacturer-recommended modulator, had sent some riders careening over the handlebars. The bikes were pulled from Lyft-owned bike-share systems in San Francisco and Washington D.C. as well.
As Streetsblog points out, Lyft announced last week that they'd begin deploying 4,000 new dockless e-bikes in San Francisco starting next month. The company has said that New York City's bikes will return "in the fall." Going by the solstice, and assuming that promise remains unbroken, Citi Bike's actual deadline is December 20th.
Jon Orcutt, a former policy director at the DOT now with Bike New York, says he's confident Citi Bike will meet its deadline. "It seems like their technical stuff has been worked out," he told Gothamist. "It's probably just logistics in terms of getting the bikes branded and getting them here to New York."
Orcutt also said it's unclear how many e-bikes will be immediately available, noting that they trickled out somewhat slowly when they were first released.
Asked if we could get an update on the status of the pedal-assist bikes, a spokesperson for Citi Bike told Gothamist that they'd have news on timing shortly.
While you wait, check out our guide to bike commuting through winter without the help of a motor.