Using Bike Share to Get to the Concert on Time

Monday, May 27, 2013 - 07:00 PM

A bike share docking station location near Bargemusic in Dumbo, Brooklyn A bike share docking station location near Bargemusic in Dumbo, Brooklyn (Brian Wise/WQXR)

Even the most punctual concertgoers have had the frustrating experience of being stuck on a delayed subway or halted in gridlocked traffic while trying to make a 7:30 pm recital or opera. And don't even get crosstown commuters started. So with the introduction of the nation’s largest bike-sharing program on Monday, New Yorkers now have another way to try and make the curtain and avoid ushers' scowls.

Citi Bike, so-named due to a hefty sponsorship from CitiBank, brings 6,000 branded bikes docked at 330 stations in Manhattan below Central Park and in parts of Brooklyn. And though the rollout is as-yet incomplete, there are already docking stations near many – though not all – of the city’s concert venues.

Carnegie Hall patrons have at least two nearby racks – on Broadway at 56th 5treet and 58th Street – with others a few blocks away. The Brooklyn Academy of Music has no fewer than five stations in its immediate vicinity, the closest being on Ashland Place near Hanson Place. Because the program hasn’t arrived north of 60th Street yet, Lincoln Center concertgoers will currently have to settle for one on Broadway near W. 60th Street, and walk the final five blocks. The 92nd St. Y and Miller Theater are also currently off the grid.

Below is a map, compiled by our colleagues at WNYC’s Transportation Nation.

Of course, some concert patrons may recoil at the prospect of arriving at a concert sweaty or disheveled from a harrowing midtown bicycle commute. But cyclists will tell you that the subway and bus are no picnic either. And perhaps there are examples to be found in London's bike sharing program, which has placed racks outside the Barbican Center and Covent Garden, among other venues. The London Symphony Orchestra even offers cyclist patrons the option of checking their helmet in the Barbican's cloak room. (None of New York's major venues currently list biking options on their websites.)

The City projects that there will be some 10,000 bikes and 600 stations by the time the program's expansion is complete (just when that will be is unclear). Daily memberships will be available for $9.95 a day or $25 a week, which entitles riders to an unlimited number of 30-minute trips.

And keep in mind, the new bikes come equipped with baskets for holding your Playbill and opera glasses.

Will you consider using the bike share program to get to a concert? Leave your comments below.

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