Can I Get a Transfer?

As frustrating as the mixed-mode commuting experience can oftentimes be, the good news is that a number of bike-friendly policy changes are in the works. | Photo courtesy SEPTA

For Delaware Valley cyclists, traveling on trains and buses with a bicycle in tow can often be a rather dicey proposition. Transit agencies are trying to change that for good.

Let's imagine you're a bicycle commuter with a 9-to-5 job outside of Center City, and with a home in Malvern a few miles from the SEPTA Regional Rail station. Even at 8 a.m., the two-wheeled journey from your front door to the Malvern station should be pleasant enough. And in theory, the process of rolling your bike aboard the Paoli/Thorndale train once it arrives, and then completing your trip into town—at which point you'll hop back on your bike and ride to the office—should be equally stress-free. After all, two bicycles are allowed to travel in each car on all SEPTA Regional Rail lines, provided they stay within a designated area. That's just one example of a policy that should make this sort of mixed-mode travel nothing less than a Philadelphia-area bike commuter's dream.

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Paving the Way

Mayor Michael Nutter participates in Bike to Work Day on May 17, 2012, an annual event hosted by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. | Photo by Mitchell Leff

Since 2008, Philadelphia has taken strides
to make its streets safer for cyclists

If you wanted to have your voice heard and presence felt while bicycling in Philadelphia in 2007, then you’d most likely join the Critical Mass ride designed to disrupt automobile traffic and create a spectacle of advocacy. But in 2014, if you want to be seen and heard, Philadelphia has the Naked Bike Ride, where over 2,000 participants bare their bodies and celebrate the freedom to ride leisurely through the streets of our great city.

Needless to say, a lot has changed since Mayor Michael Nutter took office in 2008. Although he’s credited with ushering in a younger and more progressive Philadelphia, (which definitely lends to the lack of inhibition needed to ride naked through the street), this sea change in thinking surrounding bicycling has actually been the hard work of public officials, city planners, nonprofit advocates, small business owners and private citizens who all see the bike as the most appropriate, cost-effective and convenient mode of transportation for urban living.

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2nd Annual National Bike Challenge Begins May 1

 

Today is May Day, the official start of The National Bike Challenge, a nationwide effort to increase bicycle ridership through camaraderie and friendly competition. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (BCGP) is the organizing advocacy group for the Philadelphia region, returning to the role it served last year, which was the National Bike Challenge's inaugural year.

Participants use the event website to log the miles they ride from May 1 until September 30 and it automatically tracks miles ridden, calories burned, and CO2 emissions saved. The competition part comes from ranking participants individually, by team, workplace, community and state. Bicycling-related prizes are awarded monthly. All bicycle trips, both commuting and recreational, count towards a user's totals.

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Join Grid at an Innovations in Green Tech panel happening this Monday

The annual Philly Tech Week kicks off today. Organized by Technically Philly, this week-long celebration of technology and innovation is packed with plenty of ways to geek-out (Did we mention they’re hosting a huge game of pong?). But amidst the workshops, talks and competitions, we’re of course partial to a lunchtime event we helped organize. The Innovations in Green Tech panel is happening this Monday, April 22 from 12-1 p.m. at the University City Science Center (3711 Market St.). Spend your lunchtime learning about new and upcoming breakthroughs in sustainable technologies in Philadelphia. The panel will feature:

  • Pat McDonald from Onion Flats will discuss their Stable Flats project in Northern Liberties – the first certified passive housing in the city.
  • Nicholas Mirra, communications coordinator at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, will talk about Connect the Circuit, their new website that integrates government-funded, nonprofit and privately owned bike trails in the Philadelphia area, giving riders an easy-to-use, interactive resource for planning their next ride.
  • Christine Knapp, Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Philadelphia Water Department, will discuss the Solar Sunflower Project, which is working to improve stormwater management in Philadelphia by installing water-permeable parks that can also monitor groundwater.
  • Laurie Actman, Deputy Director of the EEB Hub, will discuss the brand new incubator opening in their Navy Yard headquarters. The project is in partnership with Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

To learn more about the panel and to register, visit the Philly Tech Week website. Hope to see you there!

Get Moving: Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia to lead monthly Fun Rides

Photo via visitphilly.comThe Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is on the move! With 400 miles of bike paths and lanes, a 150 percent increase in bicycle commuting, and new safe traffic patterns, biking in Philadelphia is quickly becoming the norm. 
 
To encourage its current and future projects, and to get more people out on bikes, BGCP is hosting a monthly group five-mile bike ride through the city. Each ride will follow a different route, focusing on portions BGCP is currently improving.
 
The first BGCP Fun Rides will be to the Ben Franklin Bridge on Wed., Aug. 15, lead by John Boyle, research director at BGCP. The rides will continue the third Wednesday of every month.
For more information, and to sign up for this month’s ride, visit bicyclecoalition.org/

Neighborhood Bike Works

Founded in 1966 as a program of the Bicycle Coalition, Neighborhood Bike Works is now the leading nonprofit educational organization for empowering Philadelphia youth in underserved neighborhoods through bicycling. Their flagship program, Earn-A-Bike, teaches youth basic bike repair and maintenance skills, safe urban riding practices, and lessons on health and nutrition, all while refurbishing a bike they get to keep. Along with their extensive youth programs, Bike Works leads community service projects, an annual Bike Part Art Show, and supports in the Bike Church, an Adult Bike Repair Co-Op.

For more information, visit neighborhoodbikeworks.org.

Spin Masters: The Bicycle Coalition celebrates 40 years of leading Philadelphia's bike movement

story by Shaun BradyIn 1972, there were no bike lanes in Philadelphia. There was no way to cross the Benjamin Franklin Bridge on a bicycle, and SEPTA had banned bikes from all their buses, trains and trolleys. Even the few trails that existed weren’t connected. But while the climate was bleak for cyclists, it was also ripe for change.
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News: TIGER Beat

A U.S. Department of Transportation grant should mean big things for the city’s walkers and bikers

The final weeks before spring—when the itch for the outdoors becomes borderline unbearable—is the perfect timing for this announcement: TIGER, The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Discretionary Grant Program, has awarded our region $23 million in recovery money to be used towards the development of biking and walking trails.

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