It seems that for every thing New York City gets right with its bike-share system, it insists on getting something else dead wrong. I cheered when I heard news that the bike share would boast 10,000 bikes, and then I almost threw up in my mouth when I saw what they'd look like. I was reassured to hear that they'd come with handy baskets for stowing your stuff; I was distressed to discover out that they'd be prohibitively expensive.
So I'm sort of waiting for the other shoe to drop on this one: The city seems to have done a pretty good job reaching out to the community to figure out where the initial stations should go. Here's how it worked, according to NYC's DOT:
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. The suggestions will remain available here, and will continue to be a valuable resource as bike share system evolvesAnd so, we ended up the map you see above, which, for the areas encompassed in the rollout (not the Bronx, upper Manhattan, or Staten Island) looks pretty reasonable. But who knows, maybe they'll go ahead and announce they're concentrating 9,000 of them in SoHo.
Check out the stations in detail at the NYC Bike Share website.
Unfortunately, I don't think the generous and democratically determined station allotment will be enough to salvage what is shaping up to be one of the worst bike share systems in any major city. It's way too expensive, the pricing scheme is too punitive (riders face exorbitant costs if they go over a half an hour), and every bike is slathered in repellant corporate logos. But I'll save the rest of that screed for another day ...