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DOT Begins Citi Bike Planning Process in Astoria

 The DOT presented details of its bike share program to Queens Community Board 1 Tuesday night.
DOT Starts Citi Bike Planning in Astoria
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QUEENS — The Department of Transportation is in the early phases of planning for the potential expansion of Citi Bike to Astoria, officials said at a Community Board 1 meeting Tuesday night.

But they warned that residents shouldn't expect to see the blue bikes rolling through anytime soon.

"What this is not is an announcement that we’re about to start putting Citi Bike in Astoria — what this is is the start of planning for Citi Bike in Astoria," DOT policy director Jon Orcutt told CB1 members.

"This is the first of many meetings about this," he added. "This process in other neighborhood took about 18 months to 24 months."

DOT official Stephanie Levinsky said planning for a specific neighborhood is a "very long and involved public process."

It begins with soliciting feedback from the community board, elected officials and local stakeholders about where they think Citi Bike stations would work best, as well opening an interactive web portal to get suggestions from the public, she said.

"Where we start looking for these stations comes from you," she told members of the board.

"If you tell us you really don’t want us to take your parking we will do our very best not to take your parking," and will he scout sidewalk locations instead, she said.

The DOT will come up with a map of proposed station locations and present it at a community workshop, where they'll ask attendees for feedback.

Levinsky said the DOT has met so far with state Sen. Mike Gianaris, who has been pushing for bike share in Astoria, and come up with a tentative draft of boundaries for service in the neighborhood, a large swath that runs along both sides of the N/Q line on 31st Street.

Citi Bike has yet to officially roll out in Queens, though the DOT has already completed the planning process and station selections for Community Board 2.

Officials have said there is still no set timeline for when the bike share will come to Long Island City, saying its launch there is dependent on funding.