Thursday, August 22, 2013

Big News On Philadelphia Bike Share

Today Mayor Michael Nutter issued a press release updating Philadelphia on the status of bike share and debuting a website seeking community input on station locations.

Click to enlarge
The system, set to debut next fall, will feature 150-200 bike share stations holding 1,500-2,000 bicycles. The City's new webpage,, features a map of the planned deployment zones and two important avenues of community engagement:
  1. A map asking for residents to suggest locations for bike share stations.
  2. An invitation to businesses and landowners to sponsor or host a station, and details on how that will work. Deadline: October 7th, 2013.
The press release includes support for Philadelphia's bike share system from local economic heavies Comcast, Brandywine Property Trust, Liberty Property Trust, University of Pennsylvania, GlaxoSmithKline, and Independence Blue Cross.

(Pressing a finger to our bifocals for a moment)
To nip a oft-repeated complaint in the bud, the funding for bike share is unrelated to the City's educational woes. The $3 million allocated from the City is from the capital budget. So this is not a bikes-over-schools issue. And unlike every other transportation system in Philadelphia, bike share will not require operations money to maintain. It will fund itself.
(Lowering our bifocals and re-donning our Tom Waits-like felt Homburg with the bike grease stains).

Select quotes from today's press release:

"This past Monday, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s editorial board wrote that bike sharing is just what the city needs and I couldn’t agree more. Bike is share is a rare opportunity where $3 million City capital budget dollars can be leveraged with millions more of state, federal and private funds to create a new form of convenient, affordable and healthy public transportation," said Mayor Nutter. The program is expected to cost between $10-15 million which will be raised from state and federal grants as well as private sponsors...

In Philadelphia, a system of 150 to 200 bike share stations and 1,500 to 2,000 bikes will serve an area that stretches from the Delaware River into West Philadelphia, from the Navy Yard through Center City to beyond Temple University’s main campus in North Philadelphia. The system is projected to generate nearly two million trips per year by residents, commuters, students and visitors. Bike share helps connect residents, commuters and visitors to more of Philadelphia’s businesses, institutions and attractions and provides a clear benefit to the hosts of stations as well as the thousands of users expected each day. Bike share will be another incentive to choose Philadelphia as a place to live, to work and enjoy. It can also provide a healthy
and affordable transportation alternative to a diverse group of City residents...

"I’ve been impressed with the seriousness with which the City is approaching launching a bike sharing system. I expect the system will be operationally self-sufficient and leverage a small City investment to have a large impact," said Robert Victor Comcast’s Senior Vice President of Strategic and Financial Planning...

Full press release here.