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Queens Chronicle

Hurricane Sandy delays CitiBike bike share program

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Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012 5:56 pm | Updated: 3:33 pm, Thu Dec 13, 2012.

Hurricane Sandy made a soggy mess of some the CitiBank-sponsored bike share equipment and has postponed the program yet again.

Long Island City will be left out of CitiBike's initial unveil — which would allow riders to rent wheels all over Manhattan and Brooklyn as well as in LIC for a few hours at a time— with an unspecified LIC launch date of later in the year, according to the city's Department of Transportation. 

Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge flooded Citi Bike's facility at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which sits along the East River, and where about two-thirds of the system’s equipment had been stored when the Oct. 29 storm. While portions of the system’s equipment were not significantly damaged, including bike frames and hardware, many electrical components must have individual parts refurbished or replaced, according to the DOT.

The plan released in May would have launched bikes about now — fall 2012. 

Then in August the DOT said because of software issues the sharing program would not be put in place until March 2013. Now because of the storm, the DOT, and New York City Bike Share plan to launch Citi Bike in May 2013. 

 The new plan calls for 5,500 bikes at 293 stations located in the densest and most geographically contiguous parts of Manhattan south of 59th Street and in Brooklyn. Once equipment is repaired the DOT plans to put about 1,500 bikes in other parts of Brooklyn and in LIC for a total of 7,000. Users will rent them using credit cards and then return them to any of the system's stations.

NYCBS is working to identify, repair and replace the damaged parts, aided through insurance and supplemented by equipment that wasn’t stored at the Navy Yard, as well as by additional equipment from its supplier and from elsewhere in the delivery pipeline. 

            “DOT has worked around the clock to restore vital transportation links following the storm and that includes putting Citi Bike on the road to recovery,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “Despite the damage, New York will have the nation’s largest bike share system up and running this spring.”

The May plan called for 10,000 bikes. In August the DOT said it would release 7,000 at first, with a commitment to work toward the additional 3,000.  The plan promises 600 bikes to LIC. 

 The new date does not affected the $41 million in private funding from Citi to underwrite the system. The plan calls for NYCBS to split profits with the city during the six-year contract. 

Proposed bike share loading docks will eventually be located at:

  • West side of 2nd Street near 54th Avenue (Hunters Point Ferry Terminal) – This station will have 31 docks and will be located on private property (pending)
  • Center of 48th Avenue near Vernon Boulevard – This station will have 31 docks and will be located in a no-parking area of the street)
  • Center of Vernon Boulevard near 50th Avenue (Vernon Mall) – This station will have 31 docks and will be located in a public park or plaza.
  • North side of 45th Road near 11th Street (Murray Playground) – This station will have 27 docks and will be located on the sidewalk.
  • South side of 46th Avenue near Jackson Avenue – This station will have 23 docks and will be located in a no-parking area of the street.
  • South side of 44th Drive near Jackson Avenue – This station will have 35 docks and will be located on private property (pending)
  • West side of 21st Street near 43rd Avenue – This station will have 23 docks and will be located on the sidewalk.
  • West side of 21st Street near Queens Plaza North – This station will have 31 docks and will be located on the sidewalk.
  • South side of Queens Plaza North near Crescent Street – This station will have 31 docks and will be located on the sidewalk.
  • East side of 31st Street near Thomson Avenue – This station will have 27 docks and will be located in a no-parking area of the street.

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