Thursday, February 25, 2010

Study Finds Bike Sharing in Philadelphia is Viable

That's a YES! As reported in today's Inquirer, the Bicycle Coalition released the "Philadelphia Bike Share Concept Study," which found that a market for bike sharing exists in Philadelphia and recommended a system of 2,500 to 4,500 bicycles.

BikeSharePhiladelphia's campaign to bring bike sharing to Philadelphia was responsible for 1,400 people writing to Mayor Nutter supporting bike sharing and passage of a City Council resolution. Following this advocacy, the City of Philadelphia asked for a study to determine whether bike sharing systems that have been so successful in Europe would be viable in Philadelphia. "The finding that a market for bike sharing exists merits continued work by the City and our partners to advance the concept," said Rina Cutler, Deputy Mayor of Transportation and Utilities in a letter responding to the report. "My office will take steps this spring and summer to advance the potential of bike share in Philadelphia."

Download the report.


Dan said...

I think that I would prefer to see improvements in cycling infrastructure far more than a bike sharing program. I read most of the report and it is unclear to me who exactly will use bikeshare and why.

I can't imagine that many tourists will use the program. You can already rent bikes in Manayunk and at the Art Museum. The only other tourist areas that people might want to ride is near the Please Touch Museum and along the Delaware River. The Delaware River waterfront trail system is still very limited and as such not very appealing to ride. Why ride a bike if the whole thing can be walked in 10-15 minutes.

Most businesses in the core area described in the study are within easy walking distance of transit stops. I would have liked to see some concrete example of how a commuter would benefit from bike share. Perhaps workers at Childrens Hospital who take the El would benefit but I suspect that most people would prefer to not to ride down 34th Street on a bike.

caduceus said...

I appreciate the work the coalition does for improvement of infrastructure and safety, but really disagree that a bike share is a viable or desirable option for Philly or for the efforts of the coalition. As a daily commuter (and yes, 34th st is in there, and it isn't pleasant) I can't imagine how people who are not savvy cyclists will help improve the image of and general attitude toward bicyclists. I just can't imagine that the majority of users for a bike share would be versed in the rules of the road, bring their own helmets and lights, and not ride on the sidewalk. And, I honestly am a bit frightened about what a whole lot of tourists would do on the river drive paths, because I think that's where they would end up. Sounds like a waste of money, and seems to focus our efforts in the wrong direction.