With the expansion of Citi Bike and local push for bike lanes, Brooklyn is getting easier to traverse. But not for everyone.
Citi Bike has seen all-time highs in usage, with up to 50,000 users using the bikes on a single day citywide, according to the Brooklyn Eagle. Frequently, the bikes are used not just for sport or sight-seeing, but for commuting to and from work — especially in Brooklyn, where the most popular times for the borough’s most-used stations are 9 a.m. and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Citywide, the privately owned company currently has 450 stations. By the end of the year once expansion is complete, Brooklyn will have 157 stations.
The Brooklyn stations are helping to pick up the slack in the city’s Manhattan-centric transit system. As Brooklyn has become a destination in its own right and more Brooklynites work, shop and go out at night without ever leaving the borough, they need transportation that reflects that new reality.
Biking has become a symbol of Brooklyn as the sustainable, forward-thinking future mode of transportation.
The Citi Bike rollout started in north and northwest Brooklyn. It recently expanded to central Brooklyn with dozens of new Citi Bike stations in Bed Stuy. So far, the rollout has been north of Atlantic Avenue, which means areas such as Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Park Slope have not yet received any Citi Bike stations.
Meanwhile, the majority of Brooklyn remains a Citi Bike desert, with far-flung and hard-to-reach neighborhoods — such as Canarsie, Flatlands, Mill Basin, Brownsville — remaining as such. Why would anyone bike from Mill Basin, you may ask? To where?
Biking to the lake in Prospect Park takes roughly the same amount of time whether you start in Mill Basin or Dumbo. But the same trip using public transit can take 20 minutes longer from Mill Basin. That’s just one example. Access to something like Citi Bike can have an impact.
But biking in the city also has its hazards. So far this year, 9,865 bikers have been injured and 43 killed. While that number is 667 less than last year’s number of biking injuries at this time, it’s little comfort.
The most popular Citi Bike station in Brooklyn is South 5th Place at South 4th Street, according to the Brooklyn Eagle. The Old Fulton Street station is second most popular, and Kent Avenue at North 7th Street comes in third.
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