PATCHOGUE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Bike sharing is coming to Long Island.
It’ll be a regional first and is touted as a new way to get cars off congested roads, but amid a spate of cycling deaths in New York City, is bike sharing safe for the suburbs?
On an island reliant on cars, there are new wheels in town.
Long Island’s first regional bike share program rolls out in August. To start, 100 bikes will be available for short rental through an app, at two dozen docking stations in four villages where often the last mile is the biggest hurdle.
Getting from a train to a destination like the ferry or the waterfront requires a car.
“A program like a bike share program, where someone can use a bike for a short amount of time, for that last bit of their trip, is tremendous in leveraging and making our other transportation assets more valuable,” said Sammy Chu of the U.S. Green Building Council.
“Although the Long Island you think about is very suburban and congested, there is a lot of revitalization going on,” said Dave Reed of Zagster, the bike-sharing service. “So we can see this making a difference in getting people out of their cars for short trips.”
Patchogue is the midst of a booming revitalization. The major says bike sharing is part of what it takes to attract millennials.
“If our goal is healthy community, you want it walkable, you want bikes, you want to have parks,” said Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri.
But with so few bike lanes in the suburbs, can it work safely.
Suffolk officials say the chosen locations feature quiet sidestreets.
“The more people are used to bikes and bikers, the more they are aware of them a lot of the downtowns have bike paths existing,” said Deputy Suffolk County Executive Theresa Ward.
Will Long Island need more bike lanes as a result? Officials say they will have to evaluate. The company hopes to bring 400 bikes to Suffolk County, and there has been interest from Nassau County too.
Suffolk County will release a master list of bike trails and lanes by the end of the year.