New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) confirmed today what many had feared: flooding damage from Hurricane Sandy has indeed delayed New York’s beleaguered Citi Bike bike share system. As AN noted last month, electrical components of the Citibike docking stations were damaged while in storage in the Brooklyn Navy Yard along the East River. The initial rollout, now scheduled for May 2013, will include at least 5,500 bikes and 293 stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, later expanding to 7,000 bikes by the end of 2013. The final goal is to have 10,000 bikes and 600 stations across the city.
The bike share system was originally set to launch in July 2012, later pushed to August 2012, and then to March 2013 as vendor Alta Bike Share sorts out computer software problems. Hurricane Sandy pushed that launch date back again to May 2013. According to a statement put out by NYC DOT, the $41 million in private money secured to fund the bike share system has not been impacted by the delays. About two thirds of the bike share system had been in storage at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, some of which will require new electrical components and refurbishing.
“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,” DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said in a statement. “Despite the damage, New York will have the nation’s largest bike share system up and running this spring.”
Many other cities across the country are also in the process of launching ambitious bike share systems of their own, including Los Angeles with 4,000 bikes, Chicago with 3,000 bikes, San Francisco with 500 bikes, and Columbus with 300 bikes.
Bike advocacy group Transportation Alternatives is keeping a positive outlook. “New Yorkers are eager for this new transportation choice but we all know the damage Hurricane Sandy wrought on our city,” TA Executive Director Paul Steely White said in a statement. “We’re thankful the storm spared so much of the equipment and grateful to see the program will still launch in the spring.”
Meanwhile, be sure to check out OpenPlans’ amazing CiBi.Me bike share trip planner where you can check out all the planned bike stations and plan your most efficient trip across the city by Citi Bike.