Today’s news:

So, will Brooklyn benefit from the city’s ‘bike share’ plan?

The Brooklyn Paper

BY NATALIE O’NEILL

Biking in Brooklyn is about to go Euro — and the borough’s elected officials are prepared for an all-out battle over where the coveted-but-contentious “bike share stations” should sprout.

On Wednesday, the city unveiled plans for the country’s largest bike share program — a cheap two-wheel rental initiative — that will dole out more than 10,000 bikes in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Kiosks like those in Paris and other alleged world capitals will be built at more than 600 locations, offering commuters bikes for “short trips” — but the most controversial part of the program has not yet been decided: where exactly the stations will go and how many will be allocated to Brooklyn.

For now, stations appear likely in Park Slope, Prospect Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant by next summer.

“We expect to be in those neighborhoods — plus more,” said Alison Cohen, the president of Alta Bicycle Share, the company selected this week by the city to run the program.

Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene) hailed the plan, and said she’s vying for a several spots — including at Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene, in Grand Army Plaza in Park Slope and at Medgar Evers College in Crown Heights.

The program works like this: Participants buy yearly passes for about $100. They are then able to use the bikes as often as they want — for trips up 45 minutes — before returning them to any station. A shorter-term membership will be offered, too, although details have not yet been hammered out.

Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan noted that the city will first focus on commuter hubs in dense areas.

“It’s a great way to connect to the ferry, train or subway,” she said.

But Brooklynites generally have longer commutes than Manhattanites, and the 45-minute rental allotment will only work if kiosks are well located.

A cyclist from Park Slope, for example, would not be able to pedal into the city and back in the three-quarter-hour allotment. Instead, she would need to drop off a bike and pick up a new one for the return trip.

At the announcement in Manhattan on Wednesday, bike-friendly Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope) noted that there will be “challenges” about choosing the right locations, but that the city has promised him that it will work with communities to pinpoint the best spots for kiosks.

The bike stations themselves will be solar-powered, sponsor-funded and will cost taxpayers nothing, according to the city. The sturdy bikes are 45-pound cruisers — that are more functional than fun, partly to combat vandals — and will feature global position devices and lights.

No helmets are provided.

Updated 12:10 pm, May 11, 2012: Corrects a misunderstanding about who promised what.
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Reader Feedback

Other Michael from Park Slope says:
How about "Less Mean Streets"
Sept. 16, 2011, 7:06 am
Eric McClure from Park Slope says:
"Nice Streets!"
Sept. 16, 2011, 7:31 am
Mike says:
Sweet Streets
Sept. 16, 2011, 8:42 am
D from Crown Heights says:
Natalie Baby - They got these things in DC and Boston and Chicago and a few other cities we don't really care about. Please don't throw the Euro card into it to stir up controversy. When I buy my Mozzarella, you gonna tell me I'm European? The Mozzarella I get is made in Newark! Bike Share is USA all the way!
Sept. 16, 2011, 9:51 am
Peter from Park Slope says:
Biking in NY is about to "Go Euro?"

How about "Go DC?" or "Go Boston?" or "Go Minneapolis?"
Sept. 16, 2011, 9:52 am
Maris from Park Slope says:
"Paris and other alleged world capitals"

BY NATALIE O’NEILL "alleged reporter"
Sept. 16, 2011, 9:53 am
D from PS says:
"A cyclist from Park Slope, for example, would not be able to pedal into the city and back in the three-quarter-hour allotment. Instead, she would need to drop off a bike and pick up a new one for the return trip."

You're trying to create a problem where there is none. That's the whole point - short one way trips.
Sept. 16, 2011, 10:03 am
ch from bh says:
Reading this and the Post and the News is like listening to cavemen pooh-pooh the wheel.
Sept. 16, 2011, 10:22 am
Gary from Park Slope says:
"For now, city officials are only promising stations in Park Slope, Prospect Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant by next summer."

I think you need to fact check that. DOT's web site says
"Bike share will be established initially in the neighborhoods where travel demand for trips shorter than three miles is the highest:Central Business District and nearby residential areas, including Brooklyn neighborhoods of DUMBO, Downtown, Fort Greene, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Park Slope"
Sept. 16, 2011, 11:13 am
Mike from Bay Ridge says:
Nice idea but I can't imagine they'll be used year-round. Either it'll be too cold (e.g., in the fall and winter), or the rain, snow, sleet, hale, etc. will be too much to peddle through.

There's also the question of liability: who pays if the biker hurts someone, causes property damage or gets his bike stolen? (New Yorkers are the most litiginous people in the world.)

Finally, isn't 45 minutes of use a bit short? Not even a full hour? It can take that long to stand in some lines just to pick up a coffee or meal during rush hours.
Sept. 16, 2011, 4:07 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I only find this idea to work in theory rather than in practice. BTW, communism was also said to work in theory, so how did that work out when in practice? The truth is that just because something can work in theory, doesn't mean that they can work in practice. Also, placing them on sidewalks is a bad idea, because it will be blocking others from walking in them. How about use some of the vacant storefronts to store them instead? Either way, this will become less when it's not weather permitting or even as the temperaters begin to decrease when winter comes around. Also, there are only enough cyclists who don't follow the rules, so this can actually make it worse.
Sept. 16, 2011, 5:27 pm
Publius from Bklyn says:
Am I the only one who thinks that people who want to ride bikes as transportation already own their bikes? Why would someone want to rent someone else's bike unless they are tourists?
Sept. 17, 2011, 12:04 am
Omri from Boston says:
"I only find this idea to work in theory rather than in practice"

It's not working in theory in Boston, DC, Montreal, Minneapolis, Paris, Barcelona, Tel Aviv, et cetera. It's working in practice.
Sept. 17, 2011, 1:12 pm
ty from pps says:
I'm finding it harder and harder to believe New York City is supposedly a world leader.... when is packed full of whiny SOBs that can't handle even the tiniest bit of change. Even the changes that don't affect you one bit (except perhaps positively)
Sept. 17, 2011, 5:02 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Omri, you do that NYC is not like any of the other cities you just mentioned, plus it has a higher density and population than all of them combined.
Sept. 18, 2011, 9:13 pm
Mike says:
Higher population density makes bike share MORE viable, not LESS viable.

Tal's arguments aren't based on logic or reasoning. They're just twisted to oppose all forms of expansion of bicycling, and they almost never make sense -- even on issues on which I agree with his general thrust, e.g. Atlantic Yards, I find his arguments utterly unhelpful.
Sept. 19, 2011, 9:01 am
Nadine from BK says:
We already have several bike shops that the community can rent from. This will only hurt them or put them out of business.
Sept. 19, 2011, 10:46 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
The little shops don't rent one way.

Increased bike usage will only (mostly) help the little shops.
Sept. 19, 2011, 2:11 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I suggest some of you read the first letters on the Daily News under today's Voice of the People. One of them stated how Amsterdam abandoned the program after it being a failure. Meanwhile, Paris had nearly 3/4 of the bikes that were rented other stolen, lost, or ruined, and the city was forced to reimburse the compnay for them. Imagine the same thing happening here. BTW, I have been to most of the cities that Omri mentioned especially Tel Aviv for being Israeli-born. One other thing, those that made those claims on today's Daily News, didn't make them up, so I suggest you read them.
Sept. 19, 2011, 3:34 pm
Mike says:
Actually, they did make them up. Amsterdam has never had a modern bike-share program; the writer seems to be confusing it with a free-bike scheme in the 1960s, which failed because, unlike the proposed NYC system, there was no accountability (no credit cards for users, etc). Velib in Paris has had some bikes stolen, but not a huge number; they budget for 4% a year, which is covered by user fees. The Parisian government says the reports of widespread theft were part of a negotiating scheme by the vendor.

If bike theft were a huge problem with modern systems, we would have heard about it in DC, Boston, Montreal, etc. We haven't.

Why do you believe everything negative that anyone writes about bikes and bike-share, and nothing positive that anyone writes about bikes and bike-share?
Sept. 19, 2011, 4:05 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, did you read those letters before saying this, or just slam them because they were against your view? Keep in mind that the US isn't Europe. However, that doesn't rule out what happened there can happen here. Nevertheless, why do you make it your business when someone doesn't choose to take your side when you already had your say on this? If some feel that bike sharing is a bad idea, that's their view. In reality, we all have freedom of choice here, not freedom of only your choice.
Sept. 19, 2011, 7:56 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal

Nobody is denying you your freedom. Us, Michaels are just making sure the world knows how misinformed you are.
Sept. 20, 2011, 6:33 am
Commie from USSR says:
Tal, when bike share comes to NYC you are free to not use it. USA! USA! USA!
Sept. 20, 2011, 9:09 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Michael, I don't care if you choose to disagree with me on this, it's making a personal attack like that one that bothers me.
Sept. 20, 2011, 7 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal

I am pointing out that you are misinformed, ie; wrong.

Nothing personal.
Sept. 20, 2011, 8:23 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
It's a personal attack where I come from, and that's what matters of why bike zealouts such as yourself are known to hit below the belt.
Sept. 20, 2011, 11:22 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal

I am sorry you feel that way. I did not mean to offend.

The fact is, that you don't know what the facts are.
Sept. 21, 2011, 5:45 am
Mike says:
Tal, if you don't want to be corrected, don't post lies. It's that simple. But you seem congenitally unable to tell the truth, alas.
Sept. 21, 2011, 11:48 am
Mike says:
Here is a really interesting piece that may help some of us empathize with people like Tal:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/us/autistic-and-seeking-a-place-in-an-adult-world.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
Sept. 21, 2011, 11:51 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, I find that link to be very insulting, and I am sure many of those with autism will agree with me on that. An immediate apology is expected from you. I have every right to express my concerns as those on all the other media have. Other Michael, I don't care if you want to disagree with me, but my statements are not based on lies, and the entire world does NOT revolve around Streetsblog. This new program has brought a number of concerns especially since there are already a number of cyclists right now who don't follow the rules. Until it actually comes, critics such as Natalie O'Neill have a right to express how they feel about it just as much as you do for supporting it.
Sept. 21, 2011, 7:28 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal

This is not the place for Ms O'Neill to express how she feels. This is a "news article", a place for facts.
Sept. 22, 2011, 5:39 am
Mustache Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
Tal,

Right now, you're a whiny, misinformed pain in the ass who everyone loves making fun of. If you ever grow up, I hope one day that you'll re-read all the stupid things you wrote and toss it off to the immaturity of youth.

If you're so sensitive to criticism or what you think are affronts to your "rights," I have a suggestion. Go back to Israel and join the Army. They'll do an excellent job of making a man out of you in no time.
Sept. 22, 2011, 10:37 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Sometimes, you bike zealouts really do need to put down your egos here. Also, I know you tend to impersonate me, Pete, which explains why a number of comments you place at me tend to be personal attacks. If anyone needs to grow up, it has to be you, especially with the ganging up. Right now, many are expressing concerns on this program, and feel it won't work. There are even more letters on the NY Post and Daily News saying that this bike share program is a bad idea, so it shows that once again, this is an elitist idea. On a side note, if you don't like what I have to say, then just simply don't read, because it's not like anyone is forcing you to do so, not even me.
Sept. 22, 2011, 6:33 pm
Mike says:
And more people are expressing minor concerns, but are confident that it will work just fine -- just as it has in EVERY OTHER CITY where a similar system has been tried.

The mere presence of letters in the Post and the Daily News means nothing. They get crackpot letters about all sorts of things, fed by the flames of their columnists who hate bikes. Nothing to do with elitism, just closed-mindedness. What could be *less* elitist than a mode of transportation that costs only $100 a YEAR?
Sept. 23, 2011, 1 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, what you call being close minded, I call being realistic. Maybe to you Streetsbloggers, those who have been writing to the media on this are crackpots, but others outside your closed minds find them as looking at what is really going on. They start cheap at first, but then start costing more after a number of bicycles there get either ruined or stolen. Just today someone wrote on the Daily News saying about what happened in Amsterdam when he was there. Overall, what is right and wrong can sometimes change definitions depending on who views them, and I have numerous examples that prove that, but I will not go there.
Sept. 23, 2011, 8:57 pm
Mike says:
As I've already explained, Amsterdam has never had a modern bike share system. There is no useful comparison to be drawn from their program in the 1960s. The rest of your comment appears to be empty words and name-calling, so I won't respond to it.
Sept. 25, 2011, 12:11 am

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