No bike share south of Atlantic Avenue this year

So, will Brooklyn benefit from the city’s ‘bike share’ plan?
Community Newspaper Group / Natalie O’Neill

You won’t have a hard time finding the city’s new rental bikes this summer — unless you live south of Atlantic Avenue.

Beginning in July, 148 bike share stations will set up shop in DUMBO, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Fort Greene, Brooklyn Heights, and Downtown, according to a new map released last Friday.

But there will only be one station on the Cobble Hill, Park Slope, and Prospect Heights side of Atlantic Avenue until spring of 2013 — meaning you’ll need your own two wheels if you want to ride home from the Park Slope Food Co-op, Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Museum, or the Red Hook waterfront.

The borough will eventually get enough docks to accommodate 3,868 rental bikes in the ambitious program, according to a Department of Transportation spokesman — but this summer’s southernmost bike depot will be at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Dean Street.

“It will be a phased-in deployment,” Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan told WNCY. “I mean, we can’t just airdrop 10,000 bikes in.”

Cyclists are cheering the program, but the incremental rollout is a letdown for some Brownstone Brooklyn bike lovers.

“That’s not good,” said Park Slope resident Mitch Sonies, who owns six bikes himself. “To get around Park Slope, if you want a bike, you already have it with you.”

The city announced it would build a network of rentable, sturdy Dutch-style cruisers in November 2010 and conducted a series of planning meetings throughout the borough in 2011.

The bikes are designed for short trips and commuting, not lengthy joyrides. Brooklynites who pay the $95 annual membership fee can get access to a cerulean-colored cycle for unlimited rides up to 45 minutes, while daily or weekly riders can receive access to unlimited 30-minute rides. But heavy charges apply to those who scoot around for hours at a time.

The city will bring its proposed bike rental locations before community boards for review in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Downtown, Brooklyn Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and Bedford-Stuyvesant in the coming weeks before installing the stations this summer. Board members can still weigh in on the second draft of these maps and suggest changes to station locations before they hit the streets.

Transportation officials have already made significant changes to their first draft maps, adding more stations in Greenpoint and East Williamsburg and cutting stations along Bedford Avenue, following the advice of North Brooklyn residents at a planning meeting this spring.

Community boards representing Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Gowanus, Red Hook, Prospect Heights, and Crown Heights will host planning workshops throughout the year, before new stations are selected and installed next year.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2547.