Lawmakers: Bring Citi Bike To Western Queens
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Queens is looking for a piece of the action now that Citi Bike is up and running in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn.
The Socrates Sculpture Park and the Noguchi Museum attract thousands to Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City, but accessibility has been a problem, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
“Our park is a mile away from the closest subway and most of the buses are closed on the weekend,” park director Katie Denny said.
Local leaders believe that could all be fixed with the city’s new bike-share program.
The Department of Transportation has 10 sites in Long Island City that it hopes to have up by year’s end, but lawmakers are making a push to speed up the process in order to give residents an alternate mode of transportation.
“It will help drive tourists to our world class institutions, increase business, it will be an economic driver,” Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer said. “We deserve bike share, there is no such thing as a five borough plan if it doesn’t include Queens.”
Van Bramer said flooding from Superstorm Sandy pushed back the initial inclusion of Long Island City in the program.
It is made up of 6,000 bikes at 330 stations in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, though eventually officials hope to expand to 10,000 bikes and 600 docking stations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
More than 30,000 people have signed up as annual members and officials said residents and tourists have taken nearly 200,000 rides since the launch.
The program has not been without its share of controversy.
Some residents filed suit against the bike share, while others spoke out against the loss of parking spots.
Some city drivers complained that they’ve been improperly ticketed when the docking stations were put in place without warning. And some street vendors feared the program would cut into their territory.
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