Putting the ‘share’ in Philly bike share program

Philly bike share

Kristin Gavin, founder of the Gearing Up cycling program for women in transition, raised some interesting questions about Philadelphia’s planned bike share program, slated to roll out late next summer with a network of 150 to 200 stations stretching from the Navy Yard to Lehigh Avenue and from the Delaware River to 52nd Street.

“Let’s think creatively here – where is the Criminal Justice Center, where is probation and parole, and are there going to be stations near welfare, social security?” Gavin said.

“Are there going to be stations that make this great bike share tool accessible to all individuals, not just folks going from 20th and Market to City Hall?”

Those are some issues with which the city will be dealing as it chooses bike share station locations, which will be done through a combination of crowd sourcing on the city bike share website and at community group meetings, as well as by partnering with private landowners.

“We feel in the current environment, the only way the system is going to be successful is if it has significant private sector support,” said Andrew Stober of the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities.

“We’re going to take $3 million in city funds and leverage them with, hopefully, millions more in state and federal funding and private sector sponsorship and support.”

As one consequence of the public-private partnership, property owners who apply to underwrite the cost of bike share stations on their land will be assured placement, while those who request to host a station will merely be considered for deployment.

Firms that have already confirmed their intention to sponsor stations consist largely of big institutions like the University of Pennsylvania and Liberty Property Trust, whose portfolio includes the Comcast Center and the Navy Yard.

Andrew Stober of the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities said it boils down to pure economics.

“This is really about helping us deploy our public funds in the best way, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense for us to be paying public dollars when someone will pay private dollars to put a station there,” he said.

“For instance, Brandywine Property Trust, who owns the Cira Center in Philadelphia, said, ‘This is going to be a great amenity for our tenants. We want to pay for a station there.’ That’s great news for us regarding getting stations into areas where we’re not going to have private sector folks to pay for it.

“Obviously, having a bike share station at 30th Street Station makes sense, but if we have the private sector to pay for it, it releases funds to be spent elsewhere.”

Gavin, who said she’d be happy to work with the city to provide input, said it’s important to make sure the stations are distributed equally, regardless of where the money comes from.

“It’s just a matter of where are the private dollars that are close to Vine and Broad, where probation and parole is, or the Criminal Justice Center at 13th and Filbert?” she said.

“I hope that in areas where city buildings are, that local businesses nearby are being engaged strategically, too.”

Stober said those details will continue to be debated in a series of meetings starting in the fall, which will then unfold into a more detailed planning process.

He further noted that as the last major Northeast city to receive a bike share program, Philadelphia is uniquely positioned to learn from other locales like New York, Washington and Boston.

“We have an opportunity that hasn’t been realized in other cities, in terms of meeting the transportation needs of low income residents,” he said.

“There’s no one who needs affordable transportation more than low income folks, and bike trips are really best when they’re three miles or less. In many of the other cities, people who are living on low incomes live more than three miles from their jobs, from major commercial hubs and from recreation hubs, and that’s not true in Philadelphia.”

Nuts and Bolts

Philadelphia’s bike share program is slated to roll out late next summer.

Its total capital cost is estimated to be $10 to $15 million, $3 million of which the city from this year’s budget.

Officials also applied for a $6 million federal TIGER grant and will this week travel to Washington to meet with the secretary of transportation.

Philadelphia will this fall issue a request for proposals for a firm to manage and operate the program. Stober said two frontrunners are B-cycle and Alta Bicycle Share.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Local

Bushwick community space offers activists a place to…

A new Bushwick community space offers community activists to meet, create, learn and throw back a few cold ones. MayDay, located 214 Starr Street in Bushwick,…

Local

Activists gearing up for Sunday's "historic" People's Climate…

If all goes according to plan, more than 100,000 people will gather near Central Park West on Sunday morning and march through midtown to raise…

Movies

Kevin Smith makes peace with the Internet

I was thinking about Ain't It Cool News and Harry Knowles last night, wondering if anyone from Ain't It Cool had reviewed my new movie…

Movies

Art imitates life in 'Swim Little Fish Swim'

There's a certain comfort to be taken in finding that young artists are still moving to New York and trying to make it — and…

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and a being called Emily get…

Esperanza Spalding is about to spiral off in a brand new direction that may or may include an alter ego named Emily.

NFL

Oday Aboushi ready for increased role, and to…

Oday Aboushi might feel comfortable enough to engage in some trash talk the next time he is on the field.

NFL

Giants vs. Texans: 3 things to watch

The Giants host the surprising Texans (2-0) in what may already be a must-win game for Big Blue.

NFL

Eric Decker misses practice again, could miss Monday

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker missed practice Thursday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday.

MLB

Derek Jeter still focused on baseball as final…

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…