This May marks a very exciting time for New York City. After two delays in 2012, the city will launch a massive bike share program through its corporate sponsor Citibank. Many cities have already implemented successful bike share programs. It stands to be the largest bike share in the nation with more stations and more members than any other city. Exciting! A whole new mode of mass transit at our disposal!
CitiBike has announced where its first phase of bike stations will be and to no surprise most are downtown and midtown. And there are dozens within a few blocks of each other (see image below). Obviously, CitiBike and Alta (who will be running the Bike Share program) wants to pilot the program before expanding further uptown and that includes the Upper East and Upper West Sides.
On their website, CitiBike talks about planning for the other areas:
“Detailed site selection and planning work continues for Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Prospect Heights and Crown Heights (Brooklyn community districts 6, 8 and 9), the Upper West and East Sides (Manhattan districts 8 and 7) and Sunnyside (Queens district 2).”
So after the above areas get their bike stations just about everyone in Manhattan and Brooklyn will have stations. A glaring omission – Uptown (Harlem, Washington Heights, and Inwood).
Uptown is THE most logical area for CitiBike share programs. Too many residents rely on expensive car services to get to out of the way places when running quick errands. Many uptowners take short subways rides to the Upper West Side where more stores and services are located.
We should and will accept this program with open arms. Here are some of our station suggestions (and their reasoning) below. These are only a few station / area ideas.
1. Columbia University: Many of the Columbia University community would benefit from commuting down to midtown from the main campus to go out, research at New York Public Library, etc. Also, this station could be used by medical students commuting by bike to Columbia University School of Medicine in Washington Heights.
2. City College/Philip Randolph High School/West 145th Station (at St. Nicholas Ave): Especially since this is mostly a commuter school, it would be great for a CityBike station to be located here at one of the City’s most busiest campuses. Also, this station can be used for students at Philip Randolph High School and tourists visiting various sites uptown like Hamilton Grange, Morris-Jumel Mansion, Harlem Stage or Aaron Davis Hall.
3. Boricua College / Audubon Terrace Area: Another natural setting for students and faculty to use. Also, this area teems with History, including Trinity Cemetery, etc.
4. Columbia University School of Medicine (In Washington Heights): Columbia U and its School of Medicine is almost (we’re getting close) connected via the St. Nicholas Ave bike lane and is a littel less than 3 miles away. Many students need to commute back and forth between the two campuses (as well as professors). Having a bike station located here would be important to its staff too, many of whom come from Harlem.
5. East Harlem / Silverman School of Social Work: Another large student center, where students can commute to other Hunter Campuses in midtown or run errands, etc.
6. Harlem Hospital / Schomberg Center: Many medical interns, staff, and even patients could benefit from having a CitiBike Station right here at Harlem Hospital. Located in Central Harlem and near a subway, bike users can also use bikes when visiting the Schomberg Center down the street.
7. Lenox and 125th Street: So many venues for entertainment and shopping now makes this a destination.
These are only a few ideal places for CitiBike stations uptown. There are dozens more. We really hope that CitiBike is already starting the Uptown planning for this important new transit infrastructure in New York. And if not, hopefully the list above can be a start.
Want to help? Contact both the Department of Transportation and CitiBike and implore them to consider Uptown Manhattan for stations in a Phase 2 rollout.