Many moons ago, Citi Bike promised the good people of Queens their slice of the bike share pie—it would take a few years, they said, but it would happen. Today's the day.
Politicians and Citi Bike execs are getting together this morning to cut the ribbon at Queens's first bike share station, located in Long Island City at Center Boulevard between Borden Avenue and 54th Avenue. Eleven more stations are expected to open in the neighborhood by the end of the month. Take a look at their locations here:
The Queens expansion is expected to continue with Astoria in the next couple years, though further-flung neighborhoods like Sunnyside and Jackson Heights are out of luck for now. Around the city, a total of 79 new stations are in the process of being rolled out, to eventually encompass Harlem, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Red Hook and Gowanus by 2017. More immediately:
Rumblings of the mega-expansion first began in October, when Citi Bike was rescued from the grips of a struggling Alta Bicycle Share by Motivate, who infused the flagging program with a needed $30 million. At the time, Citi Bike only had 6,000 bikes across 330 stations in Manhattan and a small swath of North Brooklyn, and plans for the future were vague. Now, Motivate is promising 12,000 bikes at 700 stations by 2017.
In other Citi Bike news, the Plaza Hotel's year-long battle to have the distasteful bike share stations removed from its sight is over: An appeals court ruled Tuesday that the bikes shall remain, despite shrieks of protest that the stations were not only too ugly, but, inexplicably, too loud. The opinion states that municipal respondents "took the requisite 'hard look' at the bike share program’s potential environmental impacts," and determined that the Plaza was simply going to have to live with its bête noire. Pour a glass of Cristal into a servant's eyes on their behalf.