Ahead of the L train shutdown coming in April 2019, Citi Bike will increase coverage in the areas that will be affected most by the service disruption, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.
Citi Bike, which launched in 2013 and is operated by Motivate, will add approximately 1,250 bikes to its fleet and 2,500 docking stations in Manhattan and Williamsburg to offset the surge in cycling that is expected during the 15-month L train shutdown.
“Citi Bike has doubled in size under my administration, grown to where it is now by far the biggest bikeshare system in all of North America — at its busiest, the average Citi Bike can be ridden seven times per day,” de Blasio said. “However, we have not been resting on this past success. In addition to bringing bikeshare to every borough of New York City this summer under an innovative pilot of dockless services, we are committed to strengthening Citi Bike. Over the next year, riders can expect to see more bikes, docks and pedal-assist bikes and temporary valet stations that will together help meet demand during the L train shutdown next year.”
Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said the city will work with elected officials and Community Board 1 in Brooklyn and Community Boards 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 in Manhattan on Citi Bike’s “infill,” or denser coverage, “so that New Yorkers can expect that a bike will be available and even more conveniently located near wherever they are,” she said, adding, “New valet stations and pedal-assist bikes will make Citi Bike an indispensable part of the solutions we are pursuing to meeting the challenges of the L train disruption.”
Citi Bike valet stations are staffed by bikeshare employees in its busiest areas near transit hubs. During peak hours, docking stations can be busy, so Citi Bike employees can “valet” and corral additional bikes near the stations to increase capacity beyond the set number of bike docks.
What to know about Citi Bike’s expansion ahead of L train shutdown
• The first stage of increasing capacity will focus in Manhattan between Canal Street and 59th Street and in Williamsburg, which includes adding new Citi Bike docking stations and enlarging existing ones.
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• Ahead of the L train shutdown, Citi Bike will add as many as 10 new valet stations in the areas that will be largely affected by the L train shutdown, including Williamsburg, the Lower East Side, along 14th Street and adjacent to the NYC Ferry stops on the East River in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
• The DOT is currently looking into the legality of pedal-assist bicycles, which can enable cyclists to travel farther and climb hills easier, and is expected to release a ruling “in the very near future.” Citi Bike will add 1,000 temporary such “Shuttle Service” bicycles to its fleet during the L train shutdown at four pedal-assist docking stations, with two in Manhattan and two in Williamsburg, for their exclusive use, and those bicycles can only be rented and returned to those stations.
“New Yorkers are going to love our pedal-assist bikes — which besides enabling riders to conquer steep city bridges with ease, are a whole lot of fun to ride,” said Jay Walder, president and CEO of Motivate. “With the L train closure coming, we’re thrilled to be able to deliver an assortment of solutions to help New Yorkers navigate their new commutes.”
Since launching in 2013, Citi Bike has expanded to a fleet of 12,000 bikes at more than 750 stations. To date, the bikeshare has had more than 60 million rides taken.