Dozens of wheels were in motion this past Saturday at Marcy Playground, as Bed-Stuy residents celebrated the expansion of 26 new Citi Bike stations in the neighborhood.
The event, “Bed-Stuy Bikes” was a Family Fun Day initiative spearheaded by Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation and Citi Bike, part of a larger Restoration campaign dubbed #FreshMovesBKNY, which promotes small steps toward a healthy lifestyle, such as the bike share program.
“We knew the bikes were coming into Bed-Stuy, so we wanted to do a targeted immersion effort that made sure that the communities of color were prepared to take advantage of this transit option,” said Tracey Capers, executive vice president for programs at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.
“Many people think about these bike share programs as a sign of gentrification, but from Montreal to London to Chicago, it’s the wave of the future, and we felt the ridership should reflect the neighborhood composition.”
There was music, exercise classes, face painting, games, street safety classes, health screenings, free helmet giveaways and a community bike ride. Also there were opportunities to sign up and learn about Citi Bike and receive information on ridership safety from Bike New York and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT).
“We decided to have it here, because Marcy Playground epitomizes the reason for Citi Bike. You’ve got spotty train service, public housing on one side, market rate housing on another and the Hasidic population on another,” said Capers.
“And Bedford-Stuyvesant is huge: The northern part is often disconnected from the southern part, and it’s hard to commute without a car, cab or a bus, whereas a bike ride could be ten minutes. I think a bike share program is a great way to connect the neighborhood and address the transportation challenges.”