Plenty of people may want Citi Bike disappeared from outside their stores and apartment complexes, but residents in the outer boroughs should be so lucky to get—and subsequently, gripe about—their piece of the city's newest transportation pie.
Would-be cyclists in southern and eastern Brooklyn, as well as Queens and the Bronx, have found themselves entirely left out of Citi Bike's calculus, with nary a Gray Dot of Hope denoting (possible) future expansion.
"Queens isn’t on the map. It’s almost as if we don’t exist,” Councileman Jimmy Van Bramer, D-Sunnyside, told the Daily News yesterday. "They have not communicated properly to our office where this is at.”
The sluggish expansion process is due in part to the fact that funding must come exclusively from private donors—Citigroup and MasterCard are contributing more than $40 million over a six year timeline—and not city funds. Councilman Brad Lander said he hopes to change that.
"Bloomberg wanted to say it's not being funded by taxpayer dollars," Lander told us. "The amount that [Citigroup and MasterCard) agreed to pay doesn’t come anywhere close to what supporters of the system want to see."
Therefore, Lander is hoping that the new mayor will be willing to allow capital funds to be used for Citi Bike. "This feels like something that can be done far more quickly than other transportation infrastructure," he said, since the models for both the bikes and the stations are already in place.
Of the capital's budget's $20 billion of available funds, Lander said he imagines $10 to $30 million would go a long way toward expanding the bike share system to other parts of the city.
With a willing mayor, Lander said funding for the expansion could be quickly allocated, and posited that more bikes could be on the streets by next spring. But there's the rub.
"There's the big question mark," Lander said. "Will the next mayor commit to expand the system?"