NEW YORK CITY — While Citi Bike stations have already popped up in New Jersey, the bike sharing service has only made it to three of the five boroughs in New York — leaving residents in The Bronx and Staten Island feeling snubbed.
The latest effort to bring the bright blue bikes to The Bronx comes in the form of an online petition launched by bike advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, demanding that city officials approve public funding to support the bike system's expansion into all five boroughs.
"Unfortunately, Citi Bike does not serve ALL New Yorkers," the petition states. "While there have been extensive efforts to expand the program further uptown in Manhattan and deeper into Brooklyn and Queens, there are currently no plans to expand Citi Bike into Staten Island and The Bronx. We deserve Citi Bike too!"
Motivate, the privately funded company which runs Citi Bike, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg has said in the past that expanding Citi Bike into Staten Island would be difficult because the stations would be less accessible to workers who distribute and maintain bikes.
Citi Bike has so far been backed by corporate sponsorship, not public subsidies, but the DOT will soon be talking with Motivate about ways to expand the bike sharing system, according to the agency.
Erwin Figuerora, Bronx organizer at Transportation Alternatives, said the petition was a way to highlight the inequality that exists in The Bronx when it comes to transportation initiatives.
"Whether it’s bikeways, whether it’s Citi Bike, these are improvements that we are seeing in other areas, other boroughs," he said, "and The Bronx is not receiving those types of projects."
The petition currently has just over 50 signatures, but the goal is to gather 5,000 and then to send them to local elected officials including Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James and City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez.
Diaz has advocated for bringing Citi Bike into the borough in the past, harshly criticizing the system in 2015 after officials moved to expand it into New Jersey before bringing it to The Bronx, and said in a statement that he hopes the petition proves effective.
“Citi Bike must be expanded to all five boroughs," Diaz said, "And I am hopeful that this petition will add to the momentum we are building to make such an expansion a reality.”
James has also previously called for the expansion of Citi Bike, saying in a statement that "it should not be an amenity reserved for some."
"This expansion would go a long way in ensuring that transit-starved communities have the access they deserve,” she said.
The petition is meant to send a message to the city that residents of The Bronx are eager for the bike sharing system to arrive, Figuerora said. He also hopes it will motivate elected officials who have not already come out in support of Citi Bike's expansion to do so.
"We also want to let the others know, the ones that haven’t set a position on it, that the support is already in the boroughs. In Staten Island, in The Bronx, the support is already there," he said.
"It’s just a matter of allocating the funds in order for it to happen."