NYC partnership connects bike share and public benefits

by: Stefani Cox

Restoration ride
Source: Bed-Stuy Restoration.

In New York City, BBSP mini-grantees are collaborating to make sure that being on public benefits isn’t a deterrent to using Citi Bike.

Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation is working in partnership with Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, Fort Greene Park Conservancy, and Urban Upbound to outreach to SNAP participants and public housing residents.

Coordinating between that many organizations isn’t necessarily easy, but making in-person meetings a priority has helped keep everyone on the same page. For instance, the group met a few months ago for the explicit purpose of developing their collective summer programming. It also helps that these organizations have a history of working together.

The first partnership event was a kickoff. To prepare, partners met weekly and developed shared marketing materials across organizations, such as a T-shirt with all their logos featured.

Restoration ride
Source: Bed-Stuy Restoration.

Restoration ride
Source: Bed-Stuy Restoration.

In NYC, eligible individuals can access bike share for $5 a month through Citi Bike’s discounted membership program, and the operator is experimenting with a 30-day free membership for those on SNAP or in public housing. Additionally, Restoration is able to directly offer a $70 annual membership, less than half the price of a regular one.

Efforts will be concentrated in the Bed-Stuy, Fort Greene, and East Harlem neighborhoods, where partners will lead rides and offer a bike education component. Some organizations are also offering financial counseling workshops, which provide general financial advice, as well as information on how bike share can help reduce transportation costs.

These neighborhoods are important in achieving inclusivity goals, with higher proportions of people of color and public housing residents. Many individuals the partnership works with are already accessing services toward better jobs and housing.

“Bike share is a fun activity and great for community building,” said Alexis Harrison, Partnerships Coordinator at Bed-Stuy Restoration. “But it’s also a tool we can use to better support clients and community.”

Restoration ride
Source: Bed-Stuy Restoration.

To help keep track of progress, Bed-Stuy Restoration gets to look at aggregated data that Citi Bike collects that shows usage per neighborhood by census tract and zip code.

“We can use sign-up rates as a proxy for where things are changing,” said Harrison.

Harrison said it’s important when planning such events to be open to shifting ideas and plans. For the kickoff ride, partners ended up redesigning the route based on attendee’s experience level with bicycling. She also recommends making sure to cross-promote events between organizations.

Stay tuned for more intro posts on our Spring 2019 mini-grantees!

The Better Bike Share Partnership is funded by The JPB Foundation as a collaborative between the City of Philadelphia, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and the PeopleForBikes Foundation to build equitable and replicable bike share systems. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or sign up for our weekly newsletter. Story tip? Write stefani@betterbikeshare.org.