Summer of the Citi Bike: Lower East Side Edition

Our July/August print magazine cover story focuses on New York’s wildly popular — and controversial — bike share program.

Complaints Surface Regarding Elizabeth Street Citi Bike Station

Citi Bikes at Hester And Elizabeth St. Station

The city’s Department of Transportation says Citi Bike is “pedaling past ridership records,” racking up more than 250,000 total trips in its first three weeks. Local elected officials and Community Board 3 report relatively few complaints in the early going, but one station in Chinatown is causing concern.  Several store owners have voiced their disapproval of the station on Elizabeth Street, between Hester and Canal.

Petition: Move Citi Bike Station Away From Frank’s (Updated 6/6/2013)

Frank Arroyo of Frank's Bike Shop.

Frank Arroyo of Frank’s Bike Shop.

My LES alum Frank Arroyo got some attention in the Post earlier this week, in a story that suggested the longtime Grand Street bike shop owner could be “run out of business” by Citi Bike. There’s a bike share station just a short distance from his shop at 553 Grand.  Now Jeremiah Moss of Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York has started a petition, urging the Department of Transportation to move the station. The petition reads:

We support small businesses on the Lower East Side and across the city. Frank’s Bike Shop has been thriving at 533 Grand Street for 37 years, but the Citibank-sponsored Citibike station you put in front of his store threatens his livelihood. We want Frank Arroyo’s business to survive. Please move this station far from Frank’s and let him continue for years to com

As of this morning, there are 208 signatures.

UPDATED: 6/6/2013: There’s a counter-petition started by local residents who say they love Frank’s Bike Shop but do not believe he’ll be hurt by Citi Bike.  Have a look here.

Now Showing: Citi Bikes on Stanton Street

Suffolk and Stanton streets. Photo by Mike Brown.

Suffolk and Stanton streets. Photo by Mike Brown.

From Mike Brown, Citi bikes arrive at Stanton and Suffolk streets in advance of Monday’s bike share launch.


Bike Share is Almost Ready to Roll


The first bike share user!  Well, no, not really — but Citi Bike staffers did let LES resident Jac Zagoory pose for a photo in front of the docking station alongside Sara D. Roosevelt Park.  The program launches for annual members Monday, Memorial Day.  Jac rides his own bike to work every day, but says he’s probably going to become a bike share member for the convenience.  EV Grieve has details from the bike roll-out above Houston Street.  See a couple more photos after the jump.

Bike Share Issues? Contact Community Board 3

Bike share docking station at Seward Park.

Bike share docking station at Seward Park.

From Community Board 3:

Bike Share will launch May 27. Issues that must be dealt with immediately, such as a blocked driveway or loading zone, should be emailed to the community board office ( and we will work with DOT to have these sites inspected immediately.  There are other concerns regarding placement of installations or size of installations, or the number of installations in close proximity to each other.  We are asking people to wait until bike share is in operation for a month to see what works and what doesn’t. What installations are not being used to capacity? What installations do not accommodate the number of bikes needed?  The Community Board 3 Transportation Committee will meet on Tuesday, July 16 to hear concerns. DOT will attend the meeting to note these concerns and address or inspect and follow up.  Please check the CB 3 website ( for the meeting location or sign up to receive monthly agendas (join cb 3’s mail list on website).


Bike Share Launches May 27

Workers install Bike Share station at the Baruch Houses. Photo by Eusebio Rodriguez.

Workers install Bike Share station at the Baruch Houses. Photo by Eusebio Rodriguez.

We already knew New York’s bike share program would be launching Memorial Day weekend. Now, here’s the official word from the city. The Department of Transportation announced a short time ago that Citi Bike debuts Monday, May 27 for annual members and June 2 for daily users.  According to a news release, about 8,000 annual members have signed up.  Anyone registering by May 17 will “receive their Citi Bike electronic keys” by Memorial Day.  The program is kicking off with 6,000 bikes and 330 stations.  There’s already been some push back from residents about the number of stations being created on the Lower East Side and elsewhere.  In Chinatown, the elimination of parking spaces is not going over very well (to say the least).  Click here for more information.


Bike Share: Baruch Houses

Workers install Bike Share station at the Baruch Houses. Photo by Eusebio Rodriguez.

Workers install Bike Share station at the Baruch Houses. Photo by Eusebio Rodriguez.

The guys working for Bike Share have been spotted across the neighborhood in the past week. This morning, they were installing a station at the Baruch Houses. Thanks to Eusebio Rodriguez for sending along this picture.  Click here if you want to check out the map showing station locations throughout the city.


Bike Share: Seward Park

Bike share docking station at Seward Park.

Bike share docking station at Seward Park.

You’ve probably noticed the new bike share docking stations being installed throughout the neighborhood. A TLD reader sent in this photo showing a station near Seward Park, along East Broadway.  Citibike debuts next month.  If you’d like to check out an updated location map, click here.


Bike Share Under the Williamsburg Bridge

Under the Williamsburg Bridge near Columbia Street.  Photo by Ovadia.

Under the Williamsburg Bridge near Columbia Street. Photos by Ovadia.

Last week we mentioned that New York’s long-delayed bike share program is set to launch in May.  TLD reader Ovadia noticed a whole bunch of docking stations stored under the Williamsburg Bridge.  Click here to check out the bike share stations coming soon to the Lower East Side.

Bike Share Launch Now Set For May; LES Locations Mapped

Screen grab from DOT Bike Share web site; locations on the Lower East Side.

Screen grab from DOT Bike Share web site; locations on the Lower East Side.

Given the delays that have plagued the city’s new bike share program, we won’t get too excited about this one, but here’s an update anyway!  The launch is now expected in May but you might start seeing the stations being set up in the next couple of weeks.  Due to Hurricane Sandy, the Department of Transportation was forced to trim the number of initial stations from 420 to 293.  The updated bike share map shows there are quite a few options on the Lower East Side.  For example, there’s a station at Madison and Clinton streets with 27 docks.  Another location at Forsyth and Broome features 39 docks.  Click here if you’d like to check out the interactive map for yourself.


Bike Share Delayed Until Next Spring

Photo via Gothamist.

You’re going to have to wait until next spring for New York City’s bike share program.  This morning, Mayor Bloomberg and the Department of Transportation announced that “software issues” had forced the city and corporate sponsor Citibank to delay the launch of the much-talked-about program, which was supposed to debut last month.

On WOR Radio this morning, the mayor (who was rather peeved about the negative press the CitiBike delays have been generating) said, “the software doesn’t work. Duh. Until it works, we’re not going to put it out until it does work.”

Bike Share Locations Revealed

Screen grab from Bike Share web site.

Today the city unveiled the preliminary locations for its new Bike Share program. You can click here for an interactive map showing the locations in each neighborhood. The program launches in July.  it will cost $95/year to join the Bike Share program or $9.95 for 24 hours.  There’s no additional cost for the first 30 minutes — then the meter starts ticking.  The city has said locations could change somewhat based on continuing discussions with local community boards.


How to Suggest a Bike Share Location on the LES

You probably heard the news earlier this week that New York City is launching a bike share program next year. There will be 600 stations located in the five boroughs.  On the DOT’s web site, you can suggest a location. As you can see, there are a lot of suggestions. If you want to chime in with a new Lower East Side bike share locale, follow this link.