The bike-ification of New York rolls on apace today, with the city’s announcement that it has selected a partner in its much-anticipated bike-sharing program. At a press conference this afternoon, the Department of Transportation announced that it has selected Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share, which runs similar programs in Boston and Washington D.C.
New York is kind of late to the bike-share game — European cities have been on this tip forever, and U.S. cities from Boston and D.C. to Madison, Minneapolis, and Chicago already have programs in place.
But New York will be the biggest bike-share yet. When it makes its debut next summer, New York City Bike Share will include 10,000 new bicycles at 600 locations, more than any other program in the world.
The rental stands will be placed about three blocks apart, throughout Manhattan below 79th Street and in the nearer reaches of Brooklyn.
Mindful of the recent grumblings about its ambitious bike-lane expansions, the Department of Transportation is promising to solicit lots of input before it selects locations for the rental stands.
Last week the DOT promised City Council it will consult the Council and hold public hearings as it goes forward. New Yorkers can also give their own suggestions for a bike-share location on the program’s web site.
The bikes themselves will be the velocipedic opposite of hipster ultralight track bikes. Built like brick-house tanks, they’ll be heavy and weather-proof and will come equipped with bells and always-on LED safety lights front and back.
The bike-share program will be funded largely by corporate sponsorships, but users will also have to buy in, either with one-day or other short term memberships or with an annual subscription, expected to cost less than $100. Membership will get you unlimited free rides of 30-minutes or less. After that you’ll start paying for additional time.