A day after the city announced its plans for a bike share program, to begin in the summer of 2012, it seems that the most contentious issue, in this latest front in New York's ongoing Bike Wars, is where the hell they're going to find the space for 600 docking stations on the city's already-packed streets. (Bikes can be picked up from any station and returned to any station.) The Times's Clyde Haberman is worried:
Those of us who choose to get around on foot (except for long distances, when mass transit is preferred) are already squeezed pretty hard on sidewalks, where so much space is gobbled up by outdoor restaurants, construction sheds, security bollards, newspaper stands, bus shelters and other forms of street “furniture.” Outdoor restaurants are pleasant amenities, and construction sheds and bus shelters are necessities. But they shrink the sidewalk. Anything that furthers the encroachment merits close inspection.
Indeed, the Department of Transportation, in a press release yesterday, said that docking stations would be "located every few blocks in the service area," which runs from 79th Street in Manhattan through the hip/brownstone-y areas of Brooklyn. This makes sense, since nobody is going to use the program if they have to go out of their way to pick up or return a bike. That would entail walking, and walking is what were trying to avoid here. But again — where will they all go?
The city won't be deciding that all on its own. In an effort to not impose this program from on high, as it's been accused of doing in the past with bike lanes, the DOT says it will give "community and business leaders an opportunity to participate in a public dialogue" about where to put the racks. In fact, the DOT is asking for input from all of us. On a new website, anyone can suggest a location for a rack anywhere in the city, and vote on sites that have already been suggested.
As you can see in the map above, New Yorkers have spoken: The best spots for bike stations are ... everywhere/wherever is right next to them.
New York City Bike Share [NYC DOT]