The Citi Bike program launched last weekend and boy-oh-boy do people have some feelings regarding the new bicycle share. The impact of the program on local bike shops has been among the hot topics this week, with a piece in the Post profiling Frank Arroyo, owner of Frank's Bike Shop on Grand Street, garnering much attention.
A docking station for the shared bicycles in close proximity to Frank's shop is causing the owner distress. About a third of his income is made in bike rentals, which he charges $30 per day for. The Citi Bikes cost just $9.95 to rent for 24 hours, but you have to dock the bike within a half hour or you'll be charged an overage fee (keeping the bike for two hours would cost $35). A petition has been started on MoveOn.org by Jeremiah Moss—of the blog Jeremiah's Vanishing New York—requesting that the Department of Transportation, "Please move this station far from Frank's."
"My biggest question is how did they come about to choose the areas where they put these bikes. Did they study the areas? Did they look at the businesses around them?" Frank said. Here's how it worked:
Between September 2011 and April 2012, NYC DOT held 33 bike share demonstrations and open houses in three different languages throughout the city; presented to Community Boards and Community Board leadership 54 times; held 13 community planning workshops; met over 150 times with other stakeholders, institutions and business improvement districts; and collected almost 10,000 individual station location suggestions and more than 60,000 support votes on the suggestion map.
Mayor Bloomberg reacted to the location concern by saying, "We move things around all the time to see where it makes sense." A DOT spokesperson added, "We expect bike-share will help local businesses like Frank's as they sell more bike gear and helmets."
An quick increase in helmet sales is exactly what Charlie McCorkell, owner of Bicycle Habitat, saw upon the launch of the Citi Bike program. Enthusiastic about the response New Yorkers are having to the new cycling option in the city, Charlie even sent a note of thanks to Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. "I saw the article in the Post today about Frank's bike shop. This is a concern I am hearing from other dealers. I have done my due diligence (spoke with dealers in DC, Montreal, Madison, and Denver) and understand the going gets a little rough for the first few months and then comes back. Thank you, I feel this will be a major win for all New Yorkers."
· Bike Habitat's Charlie McCorkell: Citi Bike No Threat [Streetsblog]
· LES bicycle shop owner fears Citi Bike share program [NY Post]