It looks like NYC cyclers will have to wait a bit longer for the Citi Bike bike share program – and this time, Hurricane Sandy is to blame. Just as we speculated last month, the New York City Department of Transportation announced today that the bike share system would be delayed once again due to equipment damaged by flooding during the superstorm. If all goes well going forward, we can expect to see the launch happen in May 2013.
During Hurricane Sandy, storm surges overtook the East River causing it to flood much of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where many pieces of Citi Bike equipment were stored. Aside from the actual bikes, the major damages were to the docking stations. Around two-thirds of the computerized docking stations were stored at the site, and many were rendered useless after the flood.
Since not all of Citi Bike’s equipment was stored at the yard, not all was lost. And the equipment that was flooded doesn’t need to be scrapped, but will require cleaning, refurbishment, and new electrical components. Once that is completed, the NYC DOT plans to have 5,500 bikes and 293 stations ready for the launch in May, with an additional 1,500 bikes by the end of 2013. Eventually, the plan is for 10,000 bikes and 600 stations throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, to make it the largest bike share system in the United States.
Citi Bike’s original launch was for July of 2012, but plans have been consistently held back due to various issues.