By Michael V. Cusenza
The City on Friday released a Request for Expressions of Interest aimed at bringing bike sharing to outer-borough neighborhoods that Citi Bike has not yet reached — including in the Bronx and on Staten Island…and Rockaway?
The peninsula seems to be in play for the popular program’s expansion.
“Residents in outer-borough communities are starving for transportation options and dockless bike share can help to fill the void,” said City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park). “As a vocal advocate for the expansion of public bike sharing, I am thrilled DOT is looking to bring affordable and eco-friendly bike sharing to geographically-isolated neighborhoods, like the Rockaways.”
According to Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Department of Transportation, the RFEI seeks innovative companies and ideas around next-generation “dockless” public bike share systems. The request defines a dockless system as “a network of publicly available bicycles with technology that allows for all essential system and locking components to be installed in the bicycles themselves,” and thus eliminates the need for docking stations.
“Citi Bike has been an unparalleled success story in providing New Yorkers affordable, safe and green transportation, but as we are learning from around the U.S. and the world, the next generation of bike share in New York City may not even require that the bikes themselves be parked in docks,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “With so many companies anxious to prove their skills in serving our City’s diverse, demanding and lucrative market, this RFEI allows us to create different pilots and evaluate what works best, allowing us to move far beyond the limited neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens that Citi Bike now so ably serves.”
In Queens, Citi Bike docks can only be found in the western part of the World’s Borough, in Astoria and Long Island City.
According to the officials, some priorities of the new RFEI will include:
• Seeing that dockless bike share operations are safe for both riders and pedestrians, and that vendors can ensure their bikes do not obstruct other street and sidewalk uses.
• Examining vendors’ plans and capabilities for keeping bicycles within a designated service area.
• Determining standards for “rebalancing” (making sure bikes are evenly distributed across a service area to meet community demand) ahead of any pilot launch.
• Exploring bike share models that are both sustainable and affordable for New Yorkers. (In other American cities with dockless systems, trips are often priced at $1 per 30-minute ride.)
By Michael V. Cusenza