While there have been some well-documented financial difficulties, use by New York residents of the Citibike program has been largely hailed as a huge success. With a deal from Equinox Fitness and their parent company, Related Companies to acquire a controlling stake in the bike sharing program, expansion now looks to be back on track.
New York Magazine reported though, that the new stations "are planned for the Upper West Side, Upper East Side, Park Slope, and Cobble Hill", this in an article addressing the perception of clear geodemographic positioning of existing and planned bike stations in wealthy neighborhoods. The article points out that the planned expansion "does nothing to fight the perception — and stats — that contend the program is catering only to well-off white people."
With a subsdized annual membership of $60 for people in low-income housing, the expansion of the Citibike program into less affluent areas will mean greater access to the city (annual costs of a metrocard start at over $1,300), which would mean greater access to opportunities.
While the Citibike program expands across Manhattan and Brooklyn, Harlem is disregarded. We are part of Manhattan, but are treated otherwise time and time again. We pay the same taxes on sales, income, and property, but we are always the last to benefit when the city prospers, and while Harlem is enjoying something of a renaissance, the City, in this case the NYC Department of Transportation, can help Harlem help itself by supporting the infrastructure of our Manhattan neighborhood.
As the last bastion of relatively low-cost accommodation in the borough, Harlem is also home to many students, recent college graduates, and others just starting out in the city. A bike share program would boom amongst them, and the cross/downtown commutes to colleges and new jobs would ease the toll felt by many.
To supporters, please sign this petition, to address our exclusion from the Citibike program, and also the wider issues that this exclusion represents, and, most importantly, SHARE the petition. We will only have strength in numbers.
To Henrietta Lyle, Andrew Lassalle, and all other members of Community Board 10, please support us in any way you can.
And to Polly Trottenberg, Seth Solomonow, and the NYC Department of Transportation, please approve this action for the good of the people of Harlem, New York, and the USA.