Time for Philly Bike Share?

photo by Scott Dexter via FlickrPhiladelphians have waited a long time for a bike-share program. The discussion began back in 2008, just months before Grid’s prototype launched, which featured the debated system.  Five years later, the discussion continues, but now with structured delivery as to what we can hope to see in the not too distant future.

On Tuesday, April 30, The Academy of Natural Sciences and the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) hosted a forum discussing the system, which is due in late 2014.

The Philadelphia bike share system, which has been broken into two zones, is planned to serve enormous amounts of Philadelphians. Zone1 of the system consists of Center City, University City and the Temple University area. At these locations, MOTU plans to install 100-120 stations with 1000-1500 bikes. Zone 2, covering most of Philadelphia’s outer neighborhoods, from the stadium area to Central North Philadelphia, will feature 50-80 stations with 500-1000 bikes.

According to MOTU chief of staff, Andrew Stober, all of these stations and bikes would yield up to 1.9 million bike trips a year, which would be more trips than D.C., Boston or Denver, each of which systems were featured by representatives at the forum.  Though most of the finer details have not been set into place yet, the plan is to implement a 24-hour system, like those in D.C. and Boston, as well as operating year-round.

This summer, the city aims to issue its request for proposal for the bike share. If it gets awarded, it will be brought to city council in the fall and the design of the bike share launch will begin.

“Philadelphia is a city that is built so well for biking,” Stober said. And a city of biking it shall become.


MEREDITH DUVAL Thomas is a Temple University student and Grid intern.