July 13, 2018
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Alright. Everybody’s here. Well it is a particularly beautiful day here in the Rockaways. Now I’ve been out here a lot and I would say every time I’ve been here it’s been a beautiful day but it’s especially celebratory today because we’ve got something wonderful happening and the councilmen will attest a lot has been happening in recent years in the Rockaways to enhance this community and to address a lot of the historic unfairness that the Rockaways experience. This is another example of something good happening for this community and it is the harbinger of good things that are going to happen for neighborhoods all over the City.
I have to tell you, if you spend time out here, you recognize very quickly this is a very special community, the beaches are amazing, there is a lot to do, there’s a lot great places to eat, there’s a lot of great people here especially but one challenge that has always affected the Rockaways is it’s not the easiest place to get around. And it’s certainly not the easiest place to get from to other parts of the City. We’ve been trying to address that second part of the equation with things like NYC Ferry. But in terms of making this a place that people can move around more easily and enjoy all the wonderful aspects of.
This announcement today is a real big step forward. Now we in New York City over the last years and I certainly want to give a lot of credit to my predecessor Mike Bloomberg and his team, they believed in bike-sharing, we’ve expanded bike sharing quite a bit. We’ve made sure that bike sharing is for every part of the City as much as possible, but I’ll tell you this much, this is now the top bike-sharing city in the country, and we are very proud of that. It’s amazing, you know, a lot of people –
A lot of people wondered if the busiest, most intense city in this country would be the right place for bike-sharing, it’s turned out to be an ideal place for it and people have voted with their feet or with their pedals and you’ve seen the amazing ridership over the last years on bike sharing all over this city. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers have participated, their lives have become better. Well, we want to keep adding to that, and you know, when the beginning when bike-sharing existed, there were a lot of people who were concerned because it seemed to be primarily a Manhattan thing and there was a real concern, would it only be for one borough? Would it only be for well off neighborhoods?
The whole concept of our administration is to make sure what is good enough for Manhattan is good enough for the Rockaways as well and it’s something like this, an amenity like this, reaches every kind of New Yorker. That to me is a basic idea of fairness. So in the past, you would have never imagined something like dockless bikes being available in the Rockaways. You would have only seen it - in your mind you would have seen it in Midtown Manhattan or Lower Manhattan, but you would not have assumed it would be in the Rockaways. Well we’re not only righting that wrong, we’re flipping the script here because this is the first ever dockless bike program in New York City and this is the very first neighborhood that will have it, congratulations to the Rockaways.
Now Polly and I were happy to be your bike models today. After public service, we’re going into a career in bike modeling, but love the color scheme of these bikes. You can’t miss them. They’re bright. It’s really easy to use them, you download the app, you find a bike, you hop on, and you ride. Couldn’t be simpler and it’s only dollar for a 30 minute ride. Just a buck for a 30 minute ride, that is a good deal and I can tell you having sampled the product, it’s easy, it’s fun, get a little exercise, get out there, enjoy what these dockless bikes have to offer.
This starts here in the Rockaways and again in the name of fairness I want to tell you where it’s going to go from there. We’re going to have dockless bikes in the Bronx. We’re going to have dockless bikes in Staten Island. We’re going to have dockless bikes in Coney Island. A lot of neighborhoods and a lot of places in the City that didn’t get to go first are now going to get to go first and have this extraordinary amenity and this new technology available to them. So just to make it real for the people who love the Rockaways, as you know, Rockaways in summer have become more and more popular, people from all over the City are coming here. That may have not been true 20 years ago but now everyone’s coming to the Rockaways in summer. So now when you come to visit, you will be able to ride from Beach 67th to Jacob Riis, stop for a burger at Rippers on the way, just with your dockless bike taking you the whole way.
And if you live here you can also use this, obviously, not only for recreation but to make it easier to get to the subway or to the ferry, and it’s part of your daily routine. It’s something that people will be able to depend on.
This fits with everything else we’ve doing to expand bike sharing. It fits with what we’ve been doing to create new options for New Yorkers with NYC Ferry. It fits with what we’re doing with Select Bus Service to make bus service faster and better all over the five boroughs. It also fits with what we’re doing with car sharing, making car sharing more available in neighborhoods all over the city.
This is the future of New York City – all of these different kinds of ways of getting around, taking pressure off the subways and especially helping people get off the roads which is something that we all want to see more of.
We want more and more people off the roads. We want to reduce congestion. We want to reduce pollution. We want people on all these other good ways of getting around that make life better for everybody.
So when you look at it, you can see, again, bike sharing – tens of millions of rides since it started about a decade ago. What’s happened with NYC Ferry in just a couple of years – already five million rides and growing very, very fast.
To conclude, look, this is about a city that works for all New Yorkers and a city that’s fair. You know it’s fair if it works for you. You know it’s fair if you feel treated the same way in the Rockaways as you do in Manhattan. You know it’s fair if you can get to the opportunities you need for yourself and your family. That’s what we’re trying to create.
And we want this to be the place where this history was first made and then becomes the beginning of something much bigger for all New Yorkers. I’ll conclude with this point that in the Rockaways – and again summer is a special time in the Rockaways and during the summer time, the Rockaways are always rockin’ but now they’re ready to roll.
A few quick words in Spanish –
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
With that I want to welcome someone who has done so much to get new and better options to all New Yorkers. She’s been so deeply involved, obviously, in bike sharing and in things like Select Bus Service and so many other great ways of helping people get around. And I know she’s really been looking forward to the day when we had dockless bikes in New York City and that day has come. Our Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg – and my biking partner, Polly Trottenberg.
Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, Department of Transportation: I have been looking forward to this day and the bike ride with you, Mr. Mayor, which was especially wonderful on this gorgeous day in the Rockaways. And I’m thrilled to be here as we kick off our dockless pilot and I want to say Mr. Mayor, thank you for your leadership.
You have clearly recognized the exciting potential that this type of technology has, that car-share has, that these new shared mobility options are going to be going to be tremendously important for this city and provide people really affordable and terrific ways to get around this city.
It’s great to be here with Lime and Pace; with Toby Sun, the Lime CEO; and Dave Reed, Pace Expansion Manager. And starting today, we’re going to have – I think Pace is going to have 50 bikes here with 200 coming within a week or so. Lime is going to have 100 here and then on July 28th when pedal-assist bikes – we will be through our regulatory process and they will be fully authorized – they will also have 100 pedal-assist bikes, which I think, Mr. Mayor, you know also presents another very exciting option in the dockless bike share program.
And I want to also say it’s great to be here with Council Member Richards, and we have worked very closely with the elected officials here, with the community board. And in fact, when we worked with the community board, we proposed out first area for the Rockaways, they wanted us to expand it all the way from Nassau County down basically to Breezy Point, and we were thrilled to do that. Obviously with 10 miles of beach, of sun, of the wonderful restaurants, of all the things you can do here, biking is going to be terrific.
I like to come out here, myself, so I can hardly wait to try it. And in addition to Council Member Richards, I also want to acknowledge Council Member Ulrich who was a big champion of this for quite a while, and State Senator Addabbo.
And since the Mayor pointed out the other bikes we have here, just to reiterate, as he said, this is a pilot that’s going to be rolling out also in Staten Island and the Bronx, and hopefully Coney Island.
It’s great to be joined also by Avra van der Zee from JUMP, Anna Wan Christie from ofo, and I think we have – I think I saw Jules Flynn and Linn Fleischer from Motivate.
And as the Mayor said, to give a special shout out to Motivate – they have been a tremendous partner. We’ve had 60 million rides. They have really put this city on the map for bike share and it’s been terrific.
I also just want to take once second to acknowledge my staff. This is a fast-changing technology and it’s taken a lot of hard work to make sure we rolled out this pilot in a great way. So, thanks to John Frost, Bess [inaudible] Jennifer [inaudible] Andrew [inaudible].
Thank you again, Mr. Mayor, for this exciting opening.
Mayor: You’re very welcome. I want to amplify the thanks to everyone from Motivate because you were the trailblazers. And what great success you’ve had and it really opened the door for this great new opportunity with dockless bikes as well – everyone having more and more opportunity to bike around this town. So, thank you to you.
Donovan Richards has been a very, very sharp powerful voice for justice and when it comes to the Rockaways, he has constantly said to me there’s a lot of wrongs that need to be righted. There’s a lot of bad history that has to be addressed. This is a place that was ignored in so many ways for so long but it’s really coming into its own now and I’m very proud to say the Rockaways are on the map when it comes to our administration and our focus and our investments.
I want to give a lot of credit to the Councilman for having really, really kept us focused. My pleasure to introduce Council Member Donovan Richards.
Mayor: Thank you very much. So thank you everyone for being a part of this, some history being made here in the Rockaways, and we’re really excited about what is going to be happening up ahead. To our friends in the media, particularly those who have cameras, if you want more dynamic action shots of Polly and I riding, we are going to ride back out. So just giving you a warning we’re going right back to the bikes and you can position over there if you want to get those shots. Thank you everyone, enjoy this beautiful day.