Citi Bike opens new flagship facility in Gowanus
Brooklyn Stays at the Forefront of Bike Share Reform
With Citi Bike stations seemingly appearing on a new corner every week, and with 10,000 blue bikes already on the streets, it is no secret that the bike sharing service is immensely popular among New Yorkers.
The program continues to see record ridership each year with more than 10 million rides in 2015 and 14 million rides in 2016. And on July 26, Citi Bike set a new daily record for 70,286 rides.
The only other bike share program in the Western world with more annual rides is Paris’ Velib.
With Citi Bike’s headquarters located in Sunset Park and a new flagship operations facility opening in Gowanus on Tuesday, Brooklyn has slowly but surely become the heart and soul of the citywide bike-sharing program.
“I’m excited to welcome Citi Bike to its new home in Gowanus, where it will continue to employ New Yorkers and keep 10,000 bikes (and growing) up to speed,” said Councilmember Brad Lander, who represents Gowanus. “It’s a win for our community.
“Citi Bike is a valuable piece of public infrastructure that gives people a useful and convenient new transit option. It’s healthy, environmentally friendly and a safe transportation option that also provides great jobs to New Yorkers.”
The system has grown from 6,000 bikes to 10,000 bikes since its inception in May 2013.
The service has 600 stations spread out across 55 neighborhoods, including Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Red Hook, Park Slope, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus, Williamsburg and Greenpoint.
The opening of the new facility is an effort by Citi Bike to expand its infrastructure while also keeping pace with the program’s success thus far.
With an average of roughly 57,000 trips a day and an additional 2,000 bikes joining its fleet soon, the new facility in Gowanus will ensure that mechanics can get the bikes fixed faster and back on the streets sooner.
“Biking has become synonymous with Brooklyn,” Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives Paul Steely White told the Brooklyn Eagle. “There are more cyclists in the borough of Brooklyn than there are in the entire city of San Francisco or Portland, Oregon, which most people say is the bike mecca of the United States.
“We’ve been swept up in this cultural wave that has taken over the nation and symbolized a new way of urban life, and bicycling is at the forefront and that has to do with the fact that the bike network came of age in the borough of Brooklyn.”
The increase in popularity in biking has largely been due to the implementation of Citi Bike, according to White.
“Citi Bike has been a total game changer for New York,” he said. “Its most exciting contribution is how it has normalized cycling. It has become so convenient to use and you have so many new people giving it a go.”
The new 16,000-square-foot facility is located at 77 14th St., adjacent to the nightclub Analog BKNY.
It will employ 450 people, the majority of whom are Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 members. They will mainly be tasked with maintaining and repairing the bikes.
The facility will be home to the company’s bike mechanics, and the program’s field bike mechanics and station technicians will check in there each day before heading out onto the streets.
At the ribbon-cutting on Tuesday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams was joined by Councilmembers Lander and Carlos Menchanca, Assistant Speaker Felix Ortiz and Public Advocate Letitia James, among other local transportation advocates, elected officials and TWU union members.
“I commend Citi Bike’s owner Motivate for providing high-quality union jobs while delivering an essential transportation service,” said Menchaca, whose district includes Sunset Park.
“I call for expansion of Citi Bike to every corner of New York City. At a time when other transit options are failing, Citi Bike has proven how alternate means of travel can benefit both congested and transit-starved areas.”
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