Despite the many cycling controversies — from bike lane wars
to cyclist crackdowns
— New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson announced Wednesday that Portland-based Alta Bike Share
has been chosen to implement the city's first bike share initiative. Following in the footsteps of Montreal, Paris, Melbourne, Washington, D.C., and more than 200 other cities across the globe, the city will launch the program in the summer of 2012 with 10,000 sturdy bicycles in 600 stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The DOT has already launched an interactive website
where citizens can vote for their ideal station locations.
A yearly membership will cost $100 for unlimited 30-45 minute bike rides, which is less than a monthly unlimited MetroCard. This proves especially useful for New Yorkers who work or reside in subway dead zones or those having to take east-west Manhattan trips and north-south Brooklyn trips which can be a hassle due to the MTA layout
. The project will cost about $50 million to operate and it was made clear that no subsidies would be allowed. Therefore, Alta Bike Share is seeking sponsorship bids for the 10,000 mobile advertisements that will soon be in place. Plus, if and when the project turns a profit, Alta Bike Share will split it with the city.
There have been many safety concerns as at least 10 cyclists
have already died in 2011. While there will be no more construction of bike lanes specifically for the bike share, the city and Alta Bike Share are confident that the bikes are heavy enough and that those on bike share bikes are safer than on personal bikes that the program will be a safe way to travel. The membership will include a coupon for helmets and the DOT will continue to hand out free helmets
as it has been doing since 2007.
If all goes according to city speculation, then this time next year New York City's transportation system could be revolutionized. Citizens will be greener, save a little money and perhaps have calves of steel.