Citi Bike is slowly pedaling its way into western Queens.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has begun the process of bringing the Citi Bike Share Program into Long Island City, Sunnyside and now Astoria, by getting community input from Community Boards (CB) 1 and 2.
On Tuesday, the DOT began the first step of a long planning process of bringing Citi Bike to Astoria by introducing the plan to residents and board members during CB 1’s monthly meeting. Officials said this is only the beginning of a process that will take months and various community feedback meetings.
In August, State Senator Michael Gianaris announced he was working with the DOT to include Astoria in the future plans, which initially only included Long Island City and Sunnyside as Queens Citi Bike locations.
“I think it’s a great program that would provide unique benefits to western Queens,” said Gianaris. “I’m anxious to see a good program to include Queens as opposed to just Manhattan and Brooklyn.”
Gianaris said his push for the Citi Bike in western Queens arose after receiving a lot of input from residents and businesses. He also said it would work better for this area because although there are mass transit options available, some residents live a distance away from train stations. People from outside the area would be able to get to local restaurants, museums and other western Queens attractions.
The DOT will now conduct public discussions, collecting resident feedback and suggesting possible station locations in Astoria.
The senator said the only big community concern is fear that the DOT could remove parking spaces when they install the Citi Bike stations.
“We have to do the work to get it done now,” said Gianaris.
After the planning process is completed, the DOT will then have to find the funding for the stations.
The DOT has completed the planning process and station location selection with CB 2 for the neighborhoods of Sunnyside and Long Island City. Working together with the community, 11 locations have been selected and the DOT is waiting for resources to become available to install those stations.
The 11 locations are either in no-parking areas, sidewalks, public parks and plazas, or private property. A map of the planned stations can be found at http://a841-tfpweb.nyc.gov/bikeshare/station-map.
Long Island City was supposed to be part of the Citi Bike’s initial phase, which debuted in May, but was pushed back after equipment damages from Superstorm Sandy caused a delay.