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Philadelphia Bike Share Program is on the WAY!

Philadelphia Bike Share Program is on the WAY!

a Philadelphia Bike Share program is on its way!Philadelphia, Bike Share is FINALLY coming to a block near you!

Already popular in other cities ’round the world and one Philly residential building, a bike share program is in the works for our city. Mayor Michael Nutter & the administration are seeking a $3 million price tag from Philadelphia City Council, that would put 650 bicycles on the street by early 2014 for phase I. Phase II of the project would add an additional 550 bikes on the street.  Additional funds ($5-6 million) would come from federal, state or private funds to buy bikes, set up stations and establish the program. Riders, advertising on bikes & stations and corporate sponsors will cough up the operating costs of $23,000 per 10-bike station annually.

Since the Mayor’s Office of Transportation broke the news, the ‘bike sharing’ wheels are being set in motion: Philadelphia Environmental Council (PEC) will request proposals this week and bidding for companies is set for the spring.

How would the Philadelphia Bike Share program work?

This bike share program should encourage anyone to start biking – it isn’t limited to hipsters or current bikers. To use a bike, a rider would need to buy a daily, monthly or annual membership from a vending machine at a bike station. The first half-hour would be FREE, and then about $5 per half-hour after that.

Bikes would be heavier (40 lbs), 3-speed models with broad seats, step-through frames, fenders & wire baskets to deter theft. (I’m hoping they change their minds and implant some fixed-gears to No’ Libs and outside of Tattooed Mom’s.)

Two hurdles in the plan: Philly planners haven’t figured out how to allow people without banking cards (aka credit & debit) in on the fun and what to do about helmets. Typically bike share programs require plastic to deter theft (and tack on huge penalties if bikes go missing), but that leaves out low-income users. Helmets are essential to distribute, but where (and how) would they be distributed?

According to an insider at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, Mayor Nutter dropped the bike sharing bomb on his recent trip to China before making the announcement over here. The rumor also made its way onto the Twitterverse:


Are you psyched for this program? Anything you’d like to see with the bike share program, Philadelphia edition?

Photo:  Bike Portland (of Lyon, France)

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher
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