Van Bramer on Queens Bike-Share: “Not Just Waiting For It… Pushing For It”

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and his constituents rallied on the steps of City Hall today, calling on DOT to expand bike-share to western Queens. Photo: Stephen Miller

At a rally this afternoon on the steps of City Hall, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer called for the city’s bike-share program to be expanded to western Queens as quickly as possible.

This isn’t the first time Van Bramer — already a Citi Bike member — has pushed for bike-share. When the program was announced, he pressed the city to expand it to include Queens, and 11 stations in Long Island City were added to the bike-share map. DOT has said that those stations will be installed by the end of this year, though Van Bramer said he’s heard they could be installed as early as September. “Both of those are unacceptable,” he said, saying that his district could use the bikes now. “We’re not just waiting for it, we’re pushing for it.”

Funding for those initial stations has reportedly been secured, but not for an expansion to 10,000 bikes and beyond. When Streetsblog asked Van Bramer if he would be interested in using his discretionary funds for bike-share in his district, he deferred to DOT. “At this point, fundraising for the program has been the task of Janette Sadik-Khan,” he said. “She has my cell.”

While Citi Bike is still working to resolve technical problems, including station outages, Van Bramer remains focused on expansion. “We understand that with any program this size, there are going to be kinks at the beginning of it and those need to be worked out,” he said.

A roster of community leaders spoke after Van Bramer at today’s rally, including Helen Ho of Recycle-A-Bicycle, which works with more than 1,000 youth on bicycle maintenance, repair, and education. “We’d love for the families of our students to join them,” she said, adding that Citi Bike has hired two of the program’s students to help operate bike-share.

“Queens residents aren’t alone,” said Caroline Samponaro of Transportation Alternatives, adding that TA has heard from residents in Ditmas Park, East Harlem, the Bronx, and Staten Island who want bike-share in their neighborhoods. Yesterday, AM New York spoke with Council Member Stephen Levin and the district managers of Brooklyn Community Board 7, which covers Sunset Park and Windsor Terrace, and Staten Island CB 1 — all of whom said residents are constantly asking for bike-share to be expanded.