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Queens Chronicle

Western Queens wants Citi Bike

Civic associations, arts orgs and councilman rally for LIC bike share

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Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:51 am, Thu Jun 27, 2013.

Some Western Queens officials want to know why Citi Bikes’ wheels haven’t hit Long Island City pavement.

The original plan released in May would have launched the program that allows tourists and residents to rent and return bicycles throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn and in Long Island City in fall 2012.

Then some computer glitches required the Department of Transportation to push the project back.

And then Hurricane Sandy hit and pushed it back and this time pushed LIC and the promised 600 bikes right out of the initial unveiling.

On June 2, 6,000 bikes and about 330 stations were installed in the densest and most geographically contiguous parts of Manhattan south of 59th Street and in Brooklyn.

“Locals in Western Queens are clamoring for their share of bike share,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives.

Last Thursday many Western Queens arts organizations and civic association representatives joined Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) on the steps of City Hall to call for the bikes.

“Until Queens locations are included into the map, we cannot call Citi Bike a city-wide bike share program,” Van Bramer said.

The program has attracted 36,000 members and nearly 200,000 rides in two weeks, Van Bramer said.

“Queens deserves its fair share of blue bikes and we are here to let it be known, ‘We want bike share!’” he said.

The DOT said no date has been set, but that the agency plans to add the Citi Bikes to LIC once it receives its Sandy relief funds.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has hinted that it may consider putting Citi Bikes in areas that will be affected by G train repairs.

“That’s still under discussion,” said a MTA spokeswoman.

Beginning in July, the Greenpoint, 21st Street and Court Square stations will be closed for 12 weekends so fixes can be made to the tunnel that runs under Newtown Creek. Next year the stops will be closed 24/7 for a five-week period.

Citi Bike users rent the bicycles using credit or debit cards and then return them to any of the system’s stations.

“Bringing Citi Bike to Astoria would absolutely change my business for the better,” said Mackenzie Farquer, owner of SITE NYC in Astoria. “Currently my bike racks are filled on weekends with eager customers, and having better access to bikes will only help me grow. Astoria and LIC is such a large area, bringing better transportation to the neighborhood will help it seem more manageable and give my shop better visibility.”

Welcome to the discussion.