Philadelphia to become more bikeable in 2014

January 29, 2014 | by Brooke Willmes

A major bike sharing program will be coming to Philadelphia this Fall that is set to make Philly more bikeable. Philly’s bike sharing program will look a lot like the ones in other major cities such as New York, Boston, and Washington D.C. and will look and function like many of the transportation systems already in place. Users will take a bike from one station and ride it to another station. It will be similar to riding the train from station to station or a bus from stop to stop or in the last handful of years, a car from share location to share location.

Visit Philly is reporting that when the system get fully implemented it will have around 150-200 stations and 1000-1500 bikes. The stations will be set up in two zones. Zone 1 will be the the systems “core” and have stations every three to four blocks. Zone 2 will be the “neighborhood scale” and will have stations set up eight to ten blocks and each station will have roughly three or four bikes each. The city is doing its due diligence and reaching out to neighborhoods to see where they will install the bike programs. The City aims to only put the bike sharing system in neighborhoods that express a want for them.

The target of the new bike sharing program is not generally for a “biker” or those who own bikes. It is to help those who might take the train or bus to a certain stop and might want to bike the rest of the way. It is to help those who work in Center City and need to run to a meeting or a quick errand.It also can help Philadelphians stay in shape. For those of us whom commute everyday using the train or buses and do not have the time to hit the gym every morning and live in the designated neighborhoods, biking to work using the bike sharing system can easily add a workout to our daily routine. It is also meant to target tourists whom are in the City and would like to enjoy a nice bike ride around Center City and surrounding areas.

The cost will be comparable if not cheaper than other forms of transportation at around $75 annually and $25 monthly. This fee covers unlimited trips less than 30 minutes from station to station. There will also be a per diem fee that can be paid with a credit card for those less frequent riders.Philadelphia’s fees are much cheaper than other major cities such as Boston and New York where annual fees are $85 and $90 respectively.

Philadelphia currently does not have a major helmet law or policy for bikers and the bike sharing program will not as well. Another major question about the program is how it will deter theft of its bikes in the share program. The bikes will be made of materials and parts that will not be able to be used with normal bikes and they will be large and heavy to prevent quick getaways. These are similar steps that are already in place in other major cities which report low theft as well as low injury incidents.

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