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Citi Bike To Double In Size (By 2023)

The long-awaited expansion of Citi Bike's network will touch down in South Bronx and Upper Manhattan next year, with the system crawling deeper into Brooklyn and Queens by 2023, city officials announced on Tuesday.

When the phase three extension is complete, Citi Bike's service area will be doubled, and its fleet—currently hovering around 12,000—will increase to 40,000 bikes. A $100 million contribution from Lyft, which acquired Citi Bike last year, will fund the growth.

“It’s about damn time,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., during a press event in front of the borough’s courthouse on Tuesday. "What we’ve tried to say all along is that, in the Bronx, we ride bikes too—we just felt left out."

Citi Bike has seen consistent ridership growth in its six years of operation, and recently reached a record-high of 86,000 trips in a single day. But the system has also faced criticism for the sluggish pace of expansion beyond its current footprint. After launching in Manhattan, Citi Bike has since spread to nearby portions of Brooklyn and Queens—encompassing a total of 35 square miles of high-density neighborhoods that also tend to have whiter, wealthier residents.

The new stations will be the Bronx's first, with docking points coming to Mott Haven, Melrose, Port Morris, Highbridge, Claremont, Morrisania, Longwood, Concourse, and Mt. Eden. Stations will also soon dot Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Sugar Hill, Washington Heights and Inwood in Manhattan.

By 2023, bikes will be available in Bed-Stuy, Brownsville, Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, East Flatbush, Sunset Park, South Slope, Windsor Terrace, Prospect Park South and Kensington in Brooklyn; and Sunnyside, Maspeth, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and Corona in Queens.

The Department of Transportation, which controls the placement of docks, said they'll aim to add roughly 28 stations per square mile in the new expansion areas.

While the community engagement process will begin later this year in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan, it won't start until at least 2020 for the other neighborhoods. DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said the process was moving "as quick as we possibly can," considering the city's team in charge of the system is roughly a dozen people.

Asked whether Citi Bike would reach more people if it it received city subsidies, Trottenberg said she was "open to having that discussion."

Transit advocates have repeatedly made the argument for public funding, noting that Mayor Bill de Blasio has committed to spending $600 million over the next three years on NYC Ferry, which serves a fraction of Citi Bike's daily ridership. Expanding Citi Bike to the entirety of New York City would cost an additional $450 to $500 million, according to the commissioner.

Asked whether de Blasio would support subsidizing bike share, a spokesperson for the mayor, Seth Stein, told Gothamist, "We are focused on successfully delivering Citi Bike’s largest-ever expansion on an aggressive timeline, without requiring any taxpayer money. We look forward to discussions on the system’s future as we move forward."

On Tuesday, Transportation Alternatives' senior director of advocacy Tom DeVito also called on the city "to make sure that as this program is expanding, safe bike infrastructure is expanding along with it." After a cyclist was killed while riding in Brownsville last month, the organization accused the mayor of not investing in protected bike lanes in disenfranchised neighborhoods of color.

In response to the recent string of fatalities, the DOT is expected to release a new plan for bike safety later this month, while the mayor has directed the NYPD to clear drivers blocking bike lanes.

On Tuesday, city officials got a firsthand glimpse of how that crackdown is going.

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