New Yorkers expressed overwhelming support for the bike share program that is scheduled to launch here next summer, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week. The 72 percent approval of bike share, the system that enables users to borrow bicycles from sidewalk kiosks for local trips, even outstrips the 58 percent positive rating given to bike lanes, according to the Q poll.
In recent weeks, New Yorkers have had an opportunity to test ride the bikes at temporary stations set up by the vendor, Alta Bike Share, and the NYC Department of Transportation, at locations and special events around the city. Carolina Moreno, an undergraduate student at New York University School of Journalism, filmed interviews with a cross section of riders who took spins on this new public transportation option at Bowling Green in Manhattan. View their reactions in Moreno’s report, after the jump:
When the privately-funded bike share launches in summer of 2012, it will become the largest system of its kind in the U.S., with 10,000 bicycles available 24/7 from 600 kiosks initially located in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Bike share enables riders to check out sturdy bikes for short rides and return them to docking stations near their destinations. Users can buy an annual membership, which will cost less than a monthly Metrocard, or pay as they go using a credit card. The first 30 to 45 minutes are free to encourage quick turnover of the bikes; thereafter, modest charges will accrue. (Read more details in a post about my own test ride in Manhattan here.)
At a meeting of the transportation committee of Community Board 5 in Manhattan on Monday night, NYC DOT Director of Policy Jon Orcutt said the agency will begin working with community boards on siting the stations after the New Year. He noted that public education campaigns to introduce bike share and to encourage cycling safety are planned for May of 2012. A sponsor for the bike share system has not yet been named.
Bike share offers New Yorkers an efficient and affordable option for traveling around town. The presence of more bikes on the streets also has the potential to improve overall safety as drivers and pedestrians become more attuned to cycling as a mode of everyday transportation.
Bike share demo days continue this autumn around the city. They’re a great way to get acquainted with the bikes and the simple check-out and docking procedures. Click here to find a demonstration event near you and to help shape the system by suggesting locations for bike share stations using an interactive map (see screenshot above).