Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What's really behind BikeShare

So with the BikeShare program about to start, a group called "Brooklyn SkillShare" is promoting a class called, "Beat the Fare, Learn to Ride: Urban Cycling Skills 101" taught on city property.

"In anticipation of NYC’s first-ever bike share program as well as yet another round of increased subway fare, there’s never been a better time to brush up on your commuter skills and get on a bike! Also come and learn about various biking groups and advocacies (like Recycle-A-Bicycle, Transportration Alternatives, and WE Bike) in the city and how you can get involved."

More proof that the whole bike movement is meant not to get people out of cars, but to get people off public transportation. According to the MTA, subway ridership is at a 62-year high. (And that's in a shitty economy. Wait 'til everyone's working again...) Subways cost too much to build and the only new one in the foreseeable future will serve Manhattan exclusively, so we have to stretch what we have. More people on bikes = more room on trains = more space for tower people = more development. And here we were all led to believe that saving the planet was the reason for the big cycling push. What a joke.


Anonymous said...

This is another Bloomberg boondoggle that's costing us money.

Wait until Emperor Bloomberg's "passing" this November.
In a few years hence...those ridiculous, costly, bike lanes will be ripped up at taxpayers' expense.

They're a failure, like most of Bloomberg's "bright" ideas.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it's pretty counterproductive for the city to be urging people to stop taking the buses and subway, which need MORE money, not less, to run. I'm sure this group gets city funding to promote this position as well.

Anonymous said...

Is there anything the city does that doesn't help developers? Seriously.

Anonymous said...

I am constantly annoyed at seeing vital thoroughfares like Jewel Avenue through Flushing Meadow Park or Cross Bay Blvd. in the area of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge down from 3 lanes of traffic to 2, causing congestion in order to accomodate the BIKE LANES put in there. I have yet to see a single biker use those lanes.

Anonymous said...

"A silva dolla to the feller in the balcony!"

You got this one tagged crappie!!

Anonymous said...

I think the majority of people who use bike share will use it for short trips. Like riding to the subway stop, or from the subway stop to your destination, or riding to the store or local business. The bikes are not conducive to long distance riding.

King Ning said...

Only a complete idiot would need to take a class on how to ride a bike on a city street. Then again, there should be a line going around the block for this. Every latte foam sculpting Hayden, Hummus, Zach, Montague, Stephonica, Zoe, Chloe and Cankleen from some cul-de-sac tract housing community in WiscoTuckyBraskaSota will attend so that they can earn their street creds and tell all of the Like, Yah-stafarians back home that they are true urban explorers. I'm going to offer clotheslining classes to teach self absorbed, self entitled, inconsiderate riding-their-bikes-on-the-sidewalk hipsters some good old fashioned Noo Yawk-style street etiquette.

Ferdinand Cesarano said...

The comment that "bikes are not conducive to long distance riding" is wrong. Speaking from personal experience, I can say that biking for commutes of 10-15 miles is definitely feasable year-round. I live in Woodhaven and work downtown; my commute via the Williamsburg Bridge is 10 miles; when the weather is nice, I take a 15-mile route via the 59th St. Bridge.

I am a slow rider by bicyclists' standards; I average only 10 mph. So my typical commute takes an hour, which is the same time it took me on the J train when you include the wait and the walk.

It's true, therefore, that my bike commuting has taken me off of the subway rather than out of a car -- I have never owned a car. Still, in this city where only the minority are car-owners, all non-car transportation modes should be prioritised.

I regret no longer being a regular subway rider; but the daily cycling has helped me lose 65 pounds and keep it off for two years. The excercise and a change of diet has helped me get rid of high blood pressure and high cholseterol, and has left me in better shape at 47 than I was at 27.

The proliferation of bike lanes in our City has been wonderful. First and Second Aves. in Manhattan are fantastic; and Sixth and Eighth Aves. are much nicer than they ever were before (despite the frequent scofflaw motorists who block the bike lanes). The Grand Concourse has been completely tamed; and the Queens approach to the 59th St. Bridge has gone from deathtrap to comfort zone. Queens needs more, not fewer, bike lines, on roads such as Woodhaven Blvd., Broadway, Main St., and, most especially Queens Blvd.

While New York has always been great for riding, this current period is the best it's ever been. Not only does a bike lane make any given street nicer, the overall quantity of them has had a noticable cumulative effect: drivers are now more aware of the existence of cyclists on all streets.

Another change that has made NYC cycling much better than ever is the fact that almost every Parks Dept. location has an open bathroom during the daylight hours. This makes a huge difference during all-day rides.

A major cultural shift is evident as well. Thanks to the wonderful Bikes in Buildings law, the concept of bringing a bike into a building has become commonplace. So, for example, it is accepted to roll a bike into a bodega while stopping to get a drink.

Other businesses are accepting of this also: I recently went to the snooty hat/sneaker store Flight Club on Broadway and 11th St. in Manhattan, and I initally left the bike outside as I peeked inside. But the guy there actually instructed me to bring the bike in! Whereas, just 10 years ago, something like this would have been unheard of.

So it pains me to see how many of my fellow bicyclists abuse the great infrastructure that we fought so long for. When I see cyclists riding through red lights or going the wrong way on one-way streets, I often yell at them. These fools think they're getting away with something, when in fact they're giving the worst possible advertisement about bicyclists to the general public. When we lose our bike lanes, it will be the fault of these idiot cyclists.

While cynicism about transplant hipsters is somewhat justified, I'd wager that the majority of bike commuters are native/longtime New Yorkers who are enjoying our City as never before, and who are in better health.

Anyway, sorry for the length of this comment, but the previous comments touched a nerve. Despite the things that Bloomberg can justifiably be criticised for, his administration deserves high praise for its support of bike riding. Under Bloomberg, the DOT has the first commissioner ever who sees her mandate as something other than serving the interests of drivers only -- and it bears repeating that only a minority of New Yorkers are car-owners. In this administration, DOT and the Parks Dept. have contributed immeasurably to the betterment of New Yorkers' quality of life; and the mayor and these departments' commissioners should be highly commended for that.

Anonymous said...

In huge portions of NYC, car ownership has gone up over the past decade. If BikeShare is meant to get people onto bikes and out of cars, why weren't the bike stations put in the neighborhoods with increased car ownership? This program is a joke.

Ferdinand Cesarano said...

Bike Share allows for 45-minute rides for annual members, 30-minute rides for daily or weekly members. (With time renewable once you dock the bike and pick up another one.) It's meant to supplement subway service; so it makes sense to have the Bike Share stations near subway stations.

Anyway, we are about to see the rollout of Phase 1 in Manhattan south of 59th St., and in Brooklyn from Downtown into Bedford-Stuyvesant. Phases 2 and 3 will take it to the rest of Manhattan, to the Bronx, almost the entirety of Brooklyn, to western Queens, and also to some spots in eastern Queens such as Flushing.