Philadelphia unveils bike-share program details

mayor michael nutter bike share Philadelphia
Mayor Michael Nutter takes a bike for a spin around Rittenhouse Square.
Credit: Rikard Larma/Metro

City officials on Thursday provided more details about what Philadelphia’s planned citywide bike share program will look like, with Mayor Michael Nutter and Deputy Mayor for Transportation Rina Cutler announcing the completion of the bike share business plan and issuing a call to those interested in hosting or sponsoring bike share stations.

The program – slated to roll out late next summer – will consist of 1,500 to 2,000 bikes docked at a network of 150 to 200 bike sharing stations serving the area from the Delaware River to West Philadelphia and the Navy Yard to North Philadelphia.

The city in this year’s budget allocated to the program $3 million in capital funds, which Nutter said will be leveraged into “millions more of state and federal transportation funds and private funds,” totaling the $10 million to $15 million needed to launch the bike share program.

The city further requested letters of interest from businesses, institutions and property owners who wish to either sponsor or host stations on their land.

Firms that have already confirmed their intention to host bike sharing stations include Brandywine Property Trust, Liberty Property Trust, GlaxoSmithKline, Independence Blue Cross and the University of Pennsylvania.

“We believe that bike sharing in Philadelphia has a unique opportunity to bring an inexpensive and flexible form of transportation to the people that really need that,” executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia Alex Doty said in a statement.

“More than half of all Philadelphians who live below the poverty line will live within walking distance of a bike share station. The Bicycle Coalition is committed to helping the city reach out into the communities and help make sure that nobody is left out from this great new form of transportation.”

To that end, the city has created a map on which users can suggest preferred bike share station locations. They say they’ll take the input into account when constructing the system.

“We’ve seen bike sharing work amazingly well in other cities, but we know that we have to tailor our system to meet the needs of Philadelphians, which is why I’m asking everyone to take some time to think about where they’d like to see bike sharing in their neighborhoods or workplaces,” Cutler said in a statement.

A system operator to manage and oversee the entire bike share program has not yet been selected. The city will release a request for proposals in the early fall.

More information on how to recommend a bike sharing site or to become a host or sponsor can be found on the city’s bike share website, which officials say is now “the  home for all official information on bike sharing in Philadelphia.”


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