Milestones: Citi Bikes & Staten Island
Citi Bike Expands
This summer, Citi Bike expanded with 91 new stations in Long Island City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg and Bedford-Stuyvesant. The Upper East and West Sides will split another 48 bike share hubs. In the expansion’s footprint, proof of the “if you build it, they will come” theory of bike share was immediately evident, with active Citi Bikers and empty stations spotted all over. Citi Bike says that expansion will continue through 2017, with plans for 12,000 bikes at 700 stations, including new spots in Astoria, Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Crown Heights, Gowanus, Harlem, Park Slope, Prospect Heights and Red Hook.
Staten Islanders got their first new bike lane in seven years, thanks to a campaign TransAlt activists launched in 2013. Clove Road, a critical connection to the Staten Island Ferry, now sports a green lane, and eager cyclists are making sure it gets good use. Getting the bike lane approved took the support of nearly 500 Staten Island residents and 25 local business owners, and a group of bold activists proposing the idea to the DOT. At a meeting of Community Board 1 last year the plan was brought to a vote. A board member asked the packed room, “Who here even rides a bike?” More than 100 people raised their hand. The rest is bike lane history.
Parks More Car-Free
Mayor Bill de Blasio took a giant leap this summer toward freeing Prospect and Central park from car traffic. On Central Park’s Loop Drive, cars are no longer allowed north of 72nd Street. In Prospect Park, the West Drive is now entirely car-free. As far back as 1979, TransAlt advocates started talking about a campaign to make New York’s parks car-free. For decades, the City responded by incrementally reducing access to the parks’ loop drives with closed entrances or reduced hours. Mayor de Blasio’s decision is by far the most aggressive effort toward, as he put it, “returning our parks to the people.” After celebrating the successful end to Transportation Alternatives’ longest running campaign, activists plan to launch a new campaign to make the remaining stretches of Central and Prospect parks car-free.
Vigil for Vision Zero
In July, more than 1,000 people, dressed in yellow to represent their hope for Vision Zero, held a moment of silence in Union Square Park. It was the largest-ever gathering for Vision Zero. Members of Families for Safe Streets were joined by DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, Public Advocate Letitia James, and members of the City Council, State Assembly and Senate to read the names of the 81 people killed in traffic in the first six months of the year. A hospital stretcher carried more than 23,000 yellow roses, representing the number of people injured in crashes over the same period. TransAlt advocates will organize another Vigil for Vision Zero next summer.