Yesterday's kickoff of New York City's bike-share program adds yet another mode to the city's robust transportation portfolio. It furthers the reach of the transit system and will bring people closer, faster to the parks, businesses and in-between spots in a heart- and earth-healthy way. Travelers from around the city, region, and world come to New York to live, work, visit, and play - and depend on our transportation systems to get them from one destination to another. Residents and visitors have learned to rely upon taxis, private autos, and their own two feet to complete their trips from train stations and bus stops. Now there is another option. Benefits include:
Cost-effective: Not only is the low annual fee - under $100 and less than the price of a monthly Metrocard - an attractive mobility solution for New Yorkers, but the City can truly afford the price - zero taxpayer dollars. Private funding, advertising, and user fees will be footing the entire $50 million bill.
Economic Development: Bike share sites are sure to become activity hubs, leading to localized economic activity. Businesses within a few blocks of these will benefit from the increased bike and foot traffic, and will promote economic development. In addition to serving residents, businesses and visitors, this exciting new urban transit system is likely to become a destination in itself, attracting regional trips, revenue, and bringing jobs - 200 for the system itself - and economic development to New York.
World-class Healthy City: Cities across the world - among them Paris, London, Boston and Washington, D.C - are recognizing the importance of biking as a tool for the health and well-being of its citizens. NYC Bike Share adds to the expanding network of waterfront greenways, bike paths, parks and pedestrian amenities that the City has created, and makes us competitive among world cities in ensuring this vital amenity for its residents and businesses.
Inclusive, technological approach: RPA applauds the approach the city's Department of Transportation is taking as a responsible, inclusive strategy that involves citizens in the planning process. New Yorkers suggesting bike-share station sites through a dynamic web site and having them engaged in the process ensures its success and longevity.
Safety and infrastructure: The bike share system is significant addition to an ever growing list of bicycle and pedestrian improvements that the NYCDOT has made over the past several years. It complements the hundreds of miles of bike paths that the DOT has created and the numerous pedestrian safety improvements (i.e. bulb-outs, refuge islands, countdown clocks, etc.) implemented on streets throughout the city. These physical improvements must be combined with a robust safety outreach effort, which is what DOT is planning as part of the roll-out of the system. RPA would also suggest that the City consider innovative training programs for TLC licensed drivers and new drivers to increase their awareness of bikes, pedestrians and understanding of our changing streetscape.
The economy of New York is only as strong as the transportation system that supports it, allowing people and goods to flow throughout the region. New Yorkers thrive on the transportation alternatives the City offers. The new bike share program is a smart, safe, effective, and inclusive addition to the city's multi-modal transportation network. The program will surely lead to increased bike ridership and therefore it is critical that the city continues to ensure that the safety of cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers are its number one priority. RPA looks forward to the full roll-out of the bike share system and applauds the city for pursuing this fun, smart and healthy transport option.