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City's Bike Share Program to Launch in May After Sandy Damaged Some Gear

By Ben Fractenberg | December 7, 2012 1:40pm

NEW YORK CITY — The city's long-delayed bike share program is on track to launch in May, after being pushed back two more months because of damage sustained during Hurricane Sandy.

There will be 5,500 bikes at 293 stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, according to the Department of Transportation.

Initially there were going to be 7,000 bikes and 420 pickup and drop-off stations, but flooding at the program's Brooklyn Navy Yard facility, where about two-thirds of the equipment was stored, harmed some electrical components, the DOT said. Some bikes and hardware stored there were not damaged or can be restored or replaced, officials said.

“DOT has worked around the clock to restore vital transportation links following the storm and that includes putting Citi Bike on the road to recovery,” DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said in a statement Friday. “Despite the damage, New York will have the nation’s largest bike share system up and running this spring.”

The DOT hopes to bring the system up to 7,000 bikes by the end of the year, extending the service into Long Island City, Queens. The agency added that the city is still committed to eventually expanding the number of bikes to 10,000.

The delay will not affect the $41 million in private funding from Citibank for the program, the DOT added.

Transportation Alternatives, which advocates for increased and improved public transportation in the city, said the delay was understandable.

“New Yorkers are eager for this new transportation choice but we all know the damage Hurricane Sandy wrought on our city," Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White said in a statement.

"Every day, a new cost is added to the toll of destruction, and the damage to the bike share equipment is merely the latest. We’re thankful the storm spared so much of the equipment and grateful to see the program will still launch in the spring.”