Bike sharing coming to Philadelphia

By Adam Newman

If all goes according to plan, the City of Brotherly Love will begin rolling out its own bike sharing system of 1,500 to 2,000 bikes at 150 to 200 locations in 2014.

Last week the office of Mayor Michael Nutter announced the completion of the Philadelphia Bike Share Strategic Business Plan and ask the community to notify them of their interest in hosting or sponsoring a bike share station. Residents can even go online and request or nominate a bike share station.

The program is expected to cost $10-$15 million, which will be raised from state and federal grants and private sponsors. The system is not expected to require public funds to operate.

Initial plans call for the bike share to serve an area from the Delaware River into West Philadelphia, from the Navy Yard through Center City and beyond Temple University’s campus in North Philadelphia. The mayor’s office says it expects riders to take up to two million trips per year.

Initial deployment

Long-term deployment

The business plan touts a bike station density of 13.28 stations per square mile in the downtown Zone 1, compared to Washington D.C.’s 8 stations per square mile. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, member signups are expected to start in 2014.

In an editorial, the paper also supported the program:

"Certainly the prospects of the city’s planned bike-sharing program look more promising as more city residents eschew driving. Its launch, expected in the fall of 2014, can’t come too soon. Some 35 other cities already offer bikes for short-term rental, linking commuters with transit stops and tourists with historic and other sites." 

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