By Michael Hill
Davon Lynch delivers food by bike and welcomes Jersey City Citi Bike — a bike sharing program — starting next month.
“It’s early in the day and you already starting to see traffic starting to build up. I just think it would be a good, faster way for people to get around,” Lynch said.
“It’s a huge win for Jersey City,” said Mayor Steve Fulop.
Fulop slammed the brakes on a partnership with two neighboring cities and instead cut a deal to get Citi Bike that’s linked to New York City’s ride share, even though the $149 annual membership for unlimited rides costs $54 more than the neighboring cities’ vendor.
“I think it’s going to be a great means of transportation for Jersey City residents getting to work so you can take a bike share to a PATH station, take the PATH and with the same key access a bike on the other side of the river and ride it to work so it’s terrific,” Fulop said.
Compatible but likely to generate complaints that the 35 Citi Bike docking stations will take up some parking spaces.
“It’s going to take up some parking spaces but the reality of the situation is that I think the greater good is that people are going to live healthier lives,” Fulop said.
When asked if she thinks she’ll ride, Jersey City resident Karen Sims said, “We’ll see. Come on it’s great exercise. I need it. We all do. Yes we do.”
After a drunk driver killed restaurant owner Chris Usher’s wife bicycling two years ago, he’s raised money to support the citizen-led Bike JC which advocates for safe streets and more. Usher says he does Bike Share already.
“I think it’s a great idea. Living in Jersey City, being so close to Manhattan, we go there all the time and it’s very common for us to chose to get off the train and hope on one of those bicycles. It’s a very easy system, all you need is a credit card,” he said.
While Jersey City residents seem to embrace Bike Share program, they have some concerns about safety for pedestrians and bike riders knowing the rules of the road. They say they think Bike Share will help reduce one crime: bike theft.
“I actually wear a T-shirt that says I got my bicycle stolen in Jersey City. It’s a big problem here. It’s going to help people that is not willing to buy a bicycle, for being afraid of not having a place to store it,” Usher said.
A private company, Motivate, is paying the entire $2.5 million for 350 bikes and the docking stations. The mayor says at no cost to the city which recently added 22 miles of bike lanes.