Boston to NYC: Bike-Share Will Be Worth It

As New York readers know, bike-share stations are hitting the streets after the program encountered a few snags last year. When members start taking the first rides on Citi Bike later this month, it will be the nation’s largest bike-share system, launching with 6,000 bikes.

Right now the sight of those new bike stations is generating all sorts of reactions, and plenty of people outside New York are also watching to see the results. Network blog Boston Streets offers some friendly advice from a city that’s been through the experience of launching an unfamiliar form of public transportation, and watched it exceed expectations:

Dear New York:

We here in Boston wanted to be the first to welcome you to the bikesharing club. It’s an exciting time for you, we know. We were curiously watching these “bicycle stations” get deployed around our city just two years ago. Like you, we didn’t know exactly what to expect. We had heard about their success in Europe, but that didn’t mean much to us. Those of us who were familiar with DC’s experience were excited and optimistic we’d see the same success they had.

It turns out we did. Hubway ridership continually eclipses projections. When the stations closed last fall for winter, we had complaints as people were forced to get around the city the boring way: walking, driving, or taking the T. There is discussion of keeping some stations open next winter, and we can’t wait!

We know, it hasn’t gone smoothly so far. You’ve had some fits and starts. But trust us, it will be worth it…

Some of your more annoying residents are making a scene trying to obstruct Citi Bike stations. It’s not their fault. They don’t understand what’s happening either. But trust us, these same people complaining about stations in front of their business will be begging for them this time next year. That’s how it’s happened here and elsewhere. Just try to ignore them for now.

Finally, we also know that you fancy your five-borough home unique. No, you are, we get it. But in this you’re better positioned to realize the benefits of bikesharing. What Boston, DC, and New York have in common is that getting around is a pain. Bikeshare makes it easier. And more enjoyable. Plus, you have the best bicycle infrastructure of the three of us.

Elsewhere on the Network today: WalkBikeJersey explains how the state’s proposed vulnerable users law will help protect pedestrians. The Kansas Cyclist announces that Wichita has installed its first sharrows. And Systemic Failure points out that the debate about President Obama’s pick for transportation secretary didn’t take long to reach a familiar low.