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Mayor de Blasio Announces That in Advance of L Train Disruption, Citi Bike Will Increase Coverage in Many of its Busiest Areas

June 27, 2018

Next year, Citi Bike will add approximately 1,250 new bikes – about a 10 percent expansion – while also adding roughly 2,500 docks in Manhattan and Williamsburg; Other new plans introduced to aid in anticipated surge in cycling expected during L train tunnel closure

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that New York City had reached an agreement with Motivate, the operator of Citi Bike, to improve bikeshare coverage in some of Citi Bike’s busiest neighborhoods.  Starting next spring, Citi Bike will add a total of 1,250 bikes and 2,500 docking points in Manhattan, as well as in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  This new coverage will help the program meet increasing demand for bike share as well the expected surge in cycling created by the closure of the L train tunnel in April 2019.  Citi Bike also announced that as part of its plans for the L train tunnel closure, it would temporarily expand valet services, as well as offer riders a new, temporary “shuttle” service over the Williamsburg Bridge on its new pedal-assist bikes.

“Citi Bike has doubled in size under my administration, grown to where it is now by far the biggest bike share system in all of North America – at its busiest, the average Citi Bike can be ridden seven times per day,” said Mayor de Blasio.  “However, we have not been resting on this past success.  In addition to bringing bike share to every borough of New York City this summer under an innovative pilot of dockless services, we are committed to strengthening Citi Bike.  Over the next year, riders can expect to see more bikes, docks, and pedal-assist bikes, and temporary valet stations that will together help meet demand during the L train shut down next year.”

“We are happy to work on this expansion with Motivate, which has done such a great job of making bike share such an indispensable part of the daily lives of tens of thousands of New Yorkers,” said Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.  “In the months ahead, we will work with community boards and elected officials on the ‘infill’ siting of new docking points, so that New Yorkers can expect that a bike will be available and even more conveniently located near wherever they are.  New valet stations and pedal-assist bikes will make Citi Bike an indispensable part of the solutions we are pursuing to meeting the challenges of the L train disruption.”

Today’s announcement about increased coverage includes these major elements:

More Citi Bikes, denser coverage: In Citi Bike’s busiest areas, cycling is expected to expand dramatically with the L train’s disruption next year.  The first stage of the City’s plan to increase capacity in Citi Bike’s existing service area will focus in Manhattan between Canal Street and 59th Street and the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, where Citi Bike will offer denser coverage with 2,500 new docks and 1,250 new bicycles.   The process of providing denser coverage is known as “infill,” and will involve both new docking stations and enlarging current stations.  DOT and Citi Bike will coordinate a robust community engagement process. working closely with local elected officials, community groups as well as the affected community boards – Brooklyn Community Board 1 and Manhattan Community Boards 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

More Citi Bike valet stations:  Valet stations are staffed by Citi Bike employees in the system’s busiest areas, mostly near transit hubs in Midtown and lower Manhattan. At these stations during peak hours, bike docks can fill up and empty quickly – but Citi Bike employees can “valet” extra bikes, corralling them near the station and thereby increasing the capacity of a single station beyond its fixed docks.  In anticipation of the L train disruption, Citi Bike expects to add as many as ten new valet stations, located in areas heavily affected by the L train disruption, including Williamsburg, the Lower East Side, along the 14th Street corridor and adjacent to East River ferry stops in both Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Citi Bike pedal-assist “Shuttle Service”: As Mayor de Blasio announced earlier this year, DOT is currently engaged in a rulemaking process to clarify the legality of pedal-assist bicycles, with publication of an adopted rule expected in the very near future.  Pedal-assist bicycles have been shown to help cyclists travel longer distances and climb hills more easily -- like the incline found on the Williamsburg Bridge bike path.  Citi Bike announced today that it would add a temporary, additional 1,000 pedal-assist bicycle “Shuttle Service” to its fleet during the L train closure, which would designate four conveniently-located pedal-assist docking stations -- two in Williamsburg and two in lower Manhattan for their exclusive use.  “Shuttle Service” bicycles could only be rented and returned to these stations.

“This announcement is a major milestone for Citi Bike, making the most popular bike share system in the country bigger, better, and more accessible,” said Jay Walder, President and CEO of Motivate, which operates Citi Bike. “New Yorkers are going to love our pedal-assist bikes -- which besides enabling riders to conquer steep city bridges with ease, are a whole lot of fun to ride.  With the L train closure coming, we’re thrilled to be able to deliver an assortment of solutions to help New Yorkers navigate their new commutes.”

“We are proud of our role in bringing to life this innovative expansion,” said Citi Head of Public Affairs Edward Skyler. “A continually evolving transportation solution, Citi Bike is a shining example of a true public-private partnership at work for New Yorkers.”

"The L train shutdown will be one of the most significant mass transit disruptions that Manhattan and Brooklyn have ever had to deal with. To keep commuters, businesses, and traffic moving, the city and the MTA will both need to think big and put every option on the table," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "Using Citibike creatively to ease some of the strain is a smart move. It won't erase the larger problem, but it will give many New Yorkers a new option and it will certainly help."

“As our community encounters growing demand for access to safe and reliable transportation options, I am pleased that Mayor de Blasio has taken this important step to expand bikeshare availability,” said Congress Member Nydia M. Velázquez. “With the L train repairs around the corner, I believe we will need a variety of alternative transit methods in order to minimize disruptions for New York’s working families. That is why in Congress, I have introduced a bill to leverage federal dollars to expand alternative transit options such as carpooling and ferry service for areas undergoing major infrastructure repairs.  I’ll continue working every way possible to minimize disruptions from the L train’s closure.”

“As the L Train tunnel closure nears, we really need to be looking at the shutdown in terms of system impact, not just line impact,” said State Senator Martin Malavé Dilan.  “An important portion of a network will be offline, not the network itself. It is good to see bike sharing, and pedal-assist technology, looked to as a reliable component of this system. Good looking out on the city’s part to make bike share part of the mitigation plan,”

When the L Train tunnel shuts down next year, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers will have to find a new way to get back and forth between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Every mode of transportation, from buses to ferries to carpools, will be used -- and Citi Bike can play an important role,” said State Senator Brian Kavanagh. “Expanding bikeshare options in Manhattan and Brooklyn will not be a cure-all, but it will give New Yorkers another, greener option when getting around. I’d like to thank the City and Motivate for expanding Citi Bike’s footprint during the shutdown -- and for pledging to listen to community voices when siting the new and expanded bike docks. I look forward to continuing to work with everyone affected and our partners in government to lessen the negative impacts of this major transportation project.”

“I welcome the news that Citibike will be expanding bike-sharing in neighborhoods that will be most affected by the suspension of L train service,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried. “The more that people travel in traffic-congested areas by cycling or walking, the better off we’ll all be.”

“I look forward to the expansion of Citi Bike to increase the number of bikes and docking points in our neighborhoods," said Assembly Member Dan Quart. "Bike sharing has truly transformed the way we get around New York City. Providing this convenient transit alternative will help mitigate the challenges of the L train tunnel closure."

"I thank the de Blasio administration and the Department of Transportation for their expansion of bike share programs in areas affected by the L train shutdown,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “Citi Bike stations have already greatly benefited residents of my district by providing an environmentally responsible, convenient, and affordable transportation alternative. I am confident that the expansion of our current bike share program will help Williamsburg and NYC residents weather the storm of the impending L train shutdown and look forward to a discussion regarding the introduction of pedal-assist bikes. These efforts are a huge step in the right direction towards a greener and more accessible city for all.”

"As a Citi Bike user, I'm thrilled to see Citi Bike expanding and thriving throughout our City. New docking stations and pedal-assist bikes will mean more users, improved access and greater reliability, providing New Yorkers with an effective and healthy transit alternative ahead of the L train disruption. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio and DOT Commissioner Trottenberg for their efforts to strengthen and expand the Citi Bike program," said State Senator Brad Hoylman.

"Citi Bike has been successful in making it easy for New Yorkers to consider biking around the city. It is exciting to partner with them once more to create new transportation options and respond to the needs of New Yorkers impacted by the L train shutdown," said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the Council Committee on Transportation.

"The upcoming L train closure highlights just how crucial alternative modes of transportation are for New Yorkers. The 1,250 additional Citi Bikes and focus on rebalancing stock will allow more of my constituents to benefit from the program. I thank the Mayor and DOT for prioritizing this initiative," said Council Member Keith Powers.

About Citi Bike
Citi Bike is New York City’s bike share system, and the largest and most successful in the nation. Since its launch in 2013, Citi Bike has expanded to 12,000 bikes at more than 750 stations and has become an integral part of New York’s transportation network, with more than 60 million rides taken to date. Operated by Motivate, North America’s bike share leader, Citi Bike consists of a fleet of specially designed, durable bikes that are locked into a network of stations in more than sixty neighborhoods across three boroughs.  Customers can download the Citi Bike app to unlock bikes, find real-time station information, and see individualized statistics including miles traveled, calories burned, and CO2 reduced.

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