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September 1, 2014
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News + Views

Bike Share for Brooklyn

By Nicole LaRosa

City installs big bike rack at Sackett and Smith to help accident-prone corner, with side beni for local cyclists.
Photo by Joshua Kristal.

Perhaps you’ve noticed, at the corner of Sackett and Smith streets, there’s a big new bike parking rack, in a former car parking spot.

In August, the transportation department installed an eight-bike corral on the blacktop (!) of the no-standing zone on the corner. Residents urged the city to take action after the corner had seen one-too-many accidents. Drivers entering the intersection from Sackett couldn’t see around the parked cars on the southeast corner of Smith, despite the no-standing regulation, causing several collisions in recent years. The new rack—the first of it’s kind in Brooklyn—prevents parking in the spot, and does not impede visibility.

But here’s the news. Next summer, an exciting program is coming our way…

**

Are you a biker without a bike? Maybe you have no place to store one, even if you take the wheels off. Or, maybe yours was stolen. Or it’s still in your parents’ garage.

Come next summer, New York City Bike Share will provide bikers with a convenient, affordable and environmentally-friendly way to get around the city. Riders can hop on one of 10,000 bikes at 600 stations in Manhattan (below 79th Street), Williamsburg, Bed-Stuy, Park Slope and Carroll Gardens. Alta-Bicycle Share, a Portland, Ore. company selected by the city to run the program, plans to expand eventually to all five boroughs.

Annual Bike Share memberships will cost less than $100, according to Alta Share. Riders will also be able to purchase “casual” single-day or other short-term memberships. The first 30 minutes of each ride will be covered by the membership, with a small usage fee for additional time.

Future bike sharers can test ride one of the bicycles today from noon to 4 p.m., at the Brooklyn Flea’s Fort Greene location, or at one of several other Brooklyn demonstrations in September and October.

And to weigh in with a vote or suggestion for where the city should locate the rental bike stand, click here.

Already a popular mode of transit in London, Paris and several U.S. cities, the bike share program will be privately funded, and Alta Bike Share will share profits with the city. The program is expected to create about 200 jobs.

“Whether it’s covering the last quarter mile from the subway or reaching that dead zone between stations, bike share offers a great, new way to get around,” said city Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. The city held a press conference on Sept. 14 announcing the launch of the highly anticipated program.

The three-speed bikes will have step-thru frames, front- and rear-flashing LED lights and a front rack. In keeping with the sustainability goals of a bike-share, the stations will be solar powered, with several docking points for the bikes and a kiosk for buying memberships or daily rides using a credit card. GPS tracking devices will help prevent bike theft.

 

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