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Citi Bike Coming to Astoria Under Expansion Plan, Lawmaker Says

By Jeanmarie Evelly | August 8, 2013 2:12pm | Updated on August 8, 2013 6:01pm
 A Citi Bike station in Manhattan. Astoria will now be included in plans to expand the bike-sharing program, state Sen. Michael Gianaris announced.
A Citi Bike station in Manhattan. Astoria will now be included in plans to expand the bike-sharing program, state Sen. Michael Gianaris announced.
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DNAinfo/Andrea Swalec

ASTORIA — Though Citi Bike's launch in Queens has been delayed, the popular bike-sharing program is slated to pedal its way to Astoria eventually, a local lawmaker announced Thursday.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who has been pushing to get Citi Bike stations in his Western Queens district for the last few months, said the Department of Transportation agreed this week to include Astoria in its future plans to expand the program.

"Citi Bike will be a great addition to Astoria, which has a growing cycling community and is already one of the most bike-friendly neighborhoods in the city," Gianaris said in his announcement.

It's unclear when, exactly, that expansion will take place.

In an email, a DOT spokesperson said the department "will begin the planning process for Astoria’s future inclusion in the bike share system," but said it has no set timetable for when Citi Bike will start operating in additional neighborhoods.

The bike share was originally slated to come to Queens during its initial rollout, but its Long Island City launch was delayed after equipment was damaged during Hurricane Sandy.

DOT officials have said they're waiting on Sandy relief funds to move forward with the next phase of Citi Bike, which would include Long Island City, Greenpoint and north Williamsburg.

Yet another expansion is planned after that, according to Gianaris, which is when Astoria would be included. That phase is also slated to include Sunnyside, Park Slope and the Upper East and Upper West sides of Manhattan, according to the senator.

Park Slope got its first Citi Bike station in May.

Gianaris said he was told the DOT will start planning for Astoria's Citi Bike launch later this year, which will include evaluating the best spots to put docking stations.

He said his office has already received a "backlog" of suggestions from constituents about where those stations should go.

"We received a number of requests," he said, adding that Citi Bike would give Astorians who live far from the N/Q station a way to shorten their commutes to Manhattan.

It also gives residents another way to travel between neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn — which have become just as much of a destination these days as Manhattan, he said.

"The historical view was that the only transportation people needed was from the outer boroughs to Manhattan," Gianaris said. "Now we need to provide ways for people to get from Astoria to Long Island City, or from Queens to Brooklyn."