BY TRISHA SAKHUJA
Queens residents and avid cyclists were hoping to see the new Citi Bikes lined up at docking stations, first in Long Island City and then Astoria, but according to the Dept. of Transportation, the process will take some more time.
The rollout process for Citi Bike to start in Long Island City is taking longer than expected because much of the gear was damaged by flooding after Superstorm Sandy hit last year.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) has worked with the DOT to include Queens on the map when the bike share program initiated earlier this year. He said it is frustrating to not see it come to western Queens yet.
“I am hoping it will come by next year,” Van Bramer said. “Everybody asks us about Citi Bike’s status, but all we can say, since this is the Dept. of Transportation’s issue, is that we will keep fighting for it.”
Intended to provide New Yorkers and visitors with environmentally-friendly means of transportation that are fun and convenient, Citi Bikes are available 24/7, 365-days-a-year in the City.
Nancy Silverman, a volunteer advocate at Transportation Alternatives, said she often takes her own bike to work in the City, but she would like to use a Citi Bike over the weekend to visit the many cultural attractions in western Queens and Brooklyn.
“It is ridiculous how long it is taking. All of us are really disappointed,” she said.
Eleven docking stations have been approved for Community Board 2, which includes Hunters Point, but a DOT spokesperson said they are waiting for the resources and funds to become available to deploy these stations.
“Queens is not supposed to be left out,” said State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), who formally requested the DOT in July that Astoria, Woodside and Sunnyside are also included in the City’s bike share program. “We are on the list but it is going to take some more time.”
Gianaris said he has drafted a list of tentative docking station locations in Astoria that would run along the N and Q trains on 31st Street. Other stations would be placed by local attractions, such as the Museum of Moving Image and Socrates Sculpture Park.
A representative from the DOT said they will come back to Community Board 1 with a map of proposed station locations and present it at a community workshop, where they will ask attendees for feedback.
Reach Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Tsakhuja13.