Friday, November 16, 2012

Did Sandy Provide Yet Another Convenient Excuse for the Delay of the Bikeshare Program?

Posted by on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Citibke.jpeg
There seem to be endless obstacles slowing down the adoption of a city’s Bikeshare program — computer bugs, endless bureaucracy, huge expansions to the program at last minute, to name a few. Some even claim helmets can interfere by swaying public opinion of Bikeshare programs!

So a devastating Superstorm could definitely do it, I suppose. According to the Times, the bikes and docking stations were flooded in their holding pen at the Brooklyn Navy Yards. But the full extent of the damage is unknown.

It does make sense — that pesky Sandy has delayed or cancelled pretty much everything else in this city so why would our much-anticipated CitiBike program be any different? But really? Delayed again?

City officials can’t say for sure yet; they need to assess the damage. “We’re working on it,” Janette Sadik-Khan, the city’s transportation commissioner, told The Times. “We had six feet of water in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.”

Doesn’t sound good. Not promising at all, in fact.

The program was originally going to begin last summer then inflate to 10,000 bikes within a year. Then in August Bloomberg announced that the launch was put off until March, 2013. "The software doesn't work," the mayor said on his radio program. "Duh. Until it works, we’re not going to put it out until it does work.”

“New Yorkers have been patient,” a rep from the Transportation Alternatives offices told The Times last Tuesday. “I think that with any more delays, New Yorkers’ patience will start to wear a bit thin.”

But that’s exactly what is likely to happen.

Given the troubled public bike program’s history of failing to launch, the great flood and the damage done almost seems like it could be a red herring. But that’s crazy, right? I’m sure the floodwaters (and fish!) really did get into the reprogramed docking stations.

Ugh. Enough already, Sandy.

The official word on CitiBike will be released as soon as they can get into the Navy Yard and test the equipment. In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed and helmets at bay.

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John Eller

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