Will bike share program be a success?
by Anthony Stasi
Aug 22, 2012 | 4734 views | 3 3 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The debut of the city’s much-anticipated bike-share program, Citi Bike, is now delayed until next year. The mayor cites the software that is needed to record when bikes are rented and returned as the main reason for the delay. If you have never seen a bike-share program in operation, it takes a little getting used to.

The bikes are heavy, unattractive vehicles and the New York version is no different. This is the good news - nobody is going to try to steal them because there is little one would do with them even if there were to get away with it. The bikes are really meant to get a person from one area of the city to another, with no other fanfare.

The problem that the program may have, however, is that Manhattan is simply too busy for this. Bicycle programs are great, they are the epitome of green travel. And if they cause even a slight drop in subway overcrowding, they have my support.

The point that Comptroller John Liu makes about the possibility of lawsuits from accidents is important, however. The city will have to smooth out legal wrinkles such as liability before this program gets rolling.

More important than lawsuits is the actual possibility of more accidents. Seeing New York’s car and bicycle traffic live together right now is a lesson in chaos. Geographically, Manhattan is perfect for a bike-share program. The sheer number of people in the city on any given day, however, could prove to be a challenge.

New York’s bike share program seems to be tailor made for Brooklyn and Queens more than it would be for Gotham, but we will have to see. When driving in Washington, D.C., I have often encountered cycling commuters.

Remember those hand signals you were taught when you learned to ride a bicycle? Yeah, neither does anyone else. But you are definitely going to see them when these hippie-esque peddlers are in front of your car.

John Liu, Public Service Announcer-In-Chief

Since Comptroller John Liu has indicated that he will not seek re-election as the city’s comptroller, there is great speculation that he may still run for mayor.

So what is a comptroller to do when he puts himself into lame duck status? Let us keep in mind that the New York City Comptroller is one of the most important jobs in the country. There is a great deal of responsibility over an enormous amount of money in this position. But when incumbents are in a lame duck status in their position, they start to look for the next big thing.

There is an old political adage that says if you want to be elected start behaving as though you are already in office. Start dealing with the problems of the people ahead of the election. This is Liu’s bread-and-butter strategy.

He sends out press releases on a daily basis on things that are not really related to that of a city fiduciary. In the last few weeks alone, he has weighed in on the Stop and Frisk policies in San Francisco, the Leiby Kletzky case in Brooklyn, and the Cablevision blackouts, among others. He has made the case that Sikh members of the NYPD be allowed to wear their religious garb on the job.

All of these things are important to some degree in the proper context, but for Liu to constantly comment on these issues means that he is looking ahead.

Which means that John Liu is going to run for mayor. He can still cause a lot of upheaval in a primary. At the very least, he could play the part of a spoiler. Never underestimate a person who has the kind of reach that John Liu has in this city.

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August 25, 2012

In DC many if not most of the Capital Bike Share users are going to work for government agencies wearing suits or business casual clothing. Hardly hippies.

Very few of the people who get off of trains at Penn Station and GCT are hippies, yet many commuters will hop on bikes at those locations to get to work.

Enough with the lazy stereotypes, please.
August 24, 2012
Bicycles are not the epitome of green travel....walking is....and the mayor should be encouraging that for short distances, not the clunky bikes that take up so much infrastructure. In addition, there is no proof whatsoever that bicycles will be replacing cars. Most of these cyclists are more likely to be mass transit users. People tend to drive cars in Manhattan only if absolutely necessary and the taxis, trucks, buses and working vehicles are still going to be on the streets.
August 22, 2012
What does 'hippie esque peddler' mean? You think cycling makes someone a hippie?

Anyway you don't make a good point when you suggest that manhattan is too busy for a bike share. Just imagine if a few people got out of their cars and cycled instead this could have a dramatic impact on congestion. Maybe we could then consider reeling in some of the real estate that's given over to cars and have a more liveable city.