NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- City transportation officials are celebrating the opening of new Citi Bike stations in Manhattan with an inaugural bike ride.
The bike-share program has officially expanded to the Upper East and West sides.
Officials were planning to ride from a newly installed station on 67th Street and Lexington Avenue outside Hunter College to another station on 63rd Street and Broadway.
New Citi Bike Stations Open On Upper East And West Sides
City Councilman Ben Kallos called the expansion critical to reducing crowding on the streets and over-packed 4, 5 and 6 subway trains.
"Even when we have the Second Avenue subway it's still going to be overcrowded, Citi Bike will offer an alternative to so many people," he said. "Our commutes are about to get a lot better, especially on the Upper East Side where we live the furthest distance from any public transportation."
Local residents and workers are ready to ride.
"I'm happy to see them in the neighborhood," resident Bill Ofonso said. "It's going to be very useful."
"I think it's nice that more people are biking," one man named Lee said. "I live right on the other side of the block so this is very convenient for me if I ever needed a bicycle."
"It's very convenient because there's a station right outside my house and then there's one here," said Maria Landa, who now plans to bike to work.
In all, 48 new Citi Bike stations will be installed up to 86th street in the next month.
By 2017, Citi Bike hopes to expand into Harlem, Astoria, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Red Hook and Gowanus.
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