Malliotakis pedals Bike & Ride expansion
Assembly member wants program on S79 buses
More passengers should be able to store their bicycles on racks on city buses for the ride between Bay Ridge and Staten Island, according to state Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, who is pushing the MTA to expand its successful Bike & Ride program to the S79 bus route.
Bike & Ride is already available on two other bus lines running between Bay Ridge and Staten Island — the S53 and S93. The S53, S93 and S79 buses all travel on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge between the two boroughs.
Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) recently held a press conference at an S79 bus stop on Fourth Avenue and 86th Street in Bay Ridge with Councilmember Vincent Gentile and representatives of the group Transportation Alternatives to call on the MTA to expand Bike & Ride.
Under Bike & Ride, passengers can store bicycles on front-mounted racks on buses, each of which can fit up to two conventional bicycles. Customers are responsible for loading and unloading their own bicycles. The bike racks are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The MTA established a pilot program on the S53 and S93 bus lines earlier this year.
“The S53 and S93 lines were chosen for the program due to their proximity to present and future bike trails, as well as their unique inter-borough routes. A natural progression for Bike & Ride should include the S79, a line that also runs between the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island, but extends down Richmond Avenue to more bicycle destinations like the New Springville Greenway, Freshkills Park and the Staten Island Mall,” Malliotakis said.
Gentile, who said he supported Malliotakis’ efforts, added that he would like to see the Bike & Ride program made permanent. “The bottom line is there are no bike lanes on the Verrazano. These bike racks provide riders with a convenient method of transportation for their bikes so that they can enjoy trails on both sides of the bridge,” Gentile said.
“These bike racks on buses are necessary, but they are not a replacement for the bike path we need across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to make the Harbor Ring a reality and make bike commuting viable for residents of every borough in New York City,” Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White said in a statement.
MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz was non-committal on the question of expanding Bike & Ride, but said the agency is taking a good look at the program. “We are currently analyzing the data from the pilot,” he told the Brooklyn Eagle.
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