The first 500 people to register for Citi Bike in Jersey City get a free tote bag. They should be so lucky in the Bronx, the borough of 1.4 million that for now can only dream of a fully stocked bay of the shiny, royal-blue bicycles.
Tuesday’s announcement that the bike-sharing program would open in Jersey City came a day before the first Citi Bike “expansion station” opened in Long Island City.
“It is deplorable that Citi Bike is expanding to New Jersey before the rest of the city,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “My borough deserves better, as do the parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island that are not currently served by our city’s official bike share program.”
We asked Citi Bike rep Dani Simons when the program would come to the Bronx:
“Once we are confident that our expansion is off to a good start, we welcome conversations with city officials on how we can meet the mayor’s goal of bringing Citi Bike to all five boroughs,” Simons said.
The farthest uptown one can check out a Citi Bike is at Broadway and 60th Street, though new stations are planned for as far uptown as 85th Street.
John DeSio, communications director for Diaz, tells the Voice that the Citi Bike team contacted Diaz’s office after the latter sent out an email with those harsh remarks to the media. DeSio says the office expects to set up a meeting in the near future to explore next steps. Simons writes that the meeting will happen in the next few weeks.
“Citi Bike is operated by NYC Bike Share. That ‘NYC’ should mean something,” ends Diaz’s terse press release.
— Ruben Diaz Jr. (@rubendiazjr) August 5, 2015
The other borough that remains without the bike-sharing program is Staten Island. Its borough president says his office has asked that the program be expanded there, but — and we’ll take a stab at finishing James S. Oddo’s sentence, here — don’t hold your breath.
We put in formal request only recently, but … https://t.co/O1RDEPOIbM
— Jimmy Oddo (@HeyNowJO) August 5, 2015
The Citi Bike expansion in New York results from a bulked-up donation from Citibank of $70.5 million through 2024, a $21 million increase in credit from the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, and more money from the investors of Motivate, the firm that runs bike-sharing programs in eleven cities across the globe.
Citi Bike’s website advertises that it will soon expand in New York City to Astoria, Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Crown Heights, Gowanus, Harlem, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Red Hook.
Across the Hudson, the Jersey City program will launch with 350 bikes at 35 stations next month. The city has recently added 22 miles of bike lanes.