New Yorkers who are in the greatest need of reliable, accessible public transit often live in the neighborhoods that are most neglected by the city’s transportation system, reports NY Curbed.
A recent report by the Regional Plan Association found that 30 percent of New Yorkers do not have a subway stop within walking distance of their homes. Dense, lower-income areas like East New York and East Flatbush are particularly affected. And while city buses serve many of New York’s transit deserts, service often is unreliable.
The dockless bike and scooter company Lime recently published its own study on NYC’s transit deserts and discovered inequity not just in subway access, but also regarding other transit modes such as bike share programs. The report, which is part of the company’s effort to get dockless bikes and scooters into New York City, revealed that Citi Bike service, for example, is mostly concentrated in higher-income areas that are already inundated with a variety of transportation options.
“New York’s transit deserts drastically and disproportionately affect low-income populations and communities of color, resulting in significant barriers to upward mobility,” Lime’s report stated.
Brooklyn Councilmembers Rafael Espinal and Antonio Reynoso have also been pushing for alternative modes of transportations such as e-scooters and e-mopeds.
Last July, Reynoso supported a test program with e-moped company Revel in Bushwick. In November Espinal introduced a bill that would establish a pilot program to bring e-scooters into the city and prioritize underserved neighborhoods like East New York.
“What I’d like to see is an expansion of modes of transportation—not only in Manhattan but in the outer-outer-boroughs,” said Espinal. “We have Citi Bike, but it hasn’t made its way out to East New York and other neighborhoods on the outskirts of the outer boroughs. We have to make sure this transportation is available to everyone.”
And Lime’s report, of course, agrees and suggests prioritizing a roll-out of dockless bike and scooter services in densely-populated, underserves areas that are underserved including East New York, East Flatbush and Flatlands. According to Lime, if e-scooters were legalized, an additional 1.5 million New Yorkers would have better access to nearby modes of transit; scooters could put them within ten minutes of subways, docked bike-share stations or other options.
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