Philly Becomes the Land of the Logos

This space for rent?

This space for rent? Or every space for rent?

When I first moved to Philadelphia six years ago, one of its chief faults (in my view) appeared to be this: It wasn’t New York.

After living and working and starting to raise a kid here, though, I’ve come to a different opinion. One of the best things about Philadelphia? It’s not New York.

There are a lot of things I mean by that, but for our purposes today I mean this: If you’re awake and outside in Manhattan, it’s quite likely that all of your senses are being assaulted by advertising and corporate branding: Neon this, billboard that, handbills over there, posters over here. It’s big, it’s loud, it’s never-ending and sometimes you just need a break.

Yes, there is plenty of advertising in Philadelphia, but — like the city itself — it’s not quite so crammed in on top of itself. There are empty spaces on the sides of buildings! There is, occasionally, room to breathe! This is, on the whole, a pretty good thing.

But maybe that’s starting to change a little bit.

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Bike Share Passes City Council

On Thursday, Philadelphia City Council officially passed legislation authorizing a bike share program in Philadelphia. A Council committee had approved Philly’s bike share program earlier this month.

“I am thrilled with the passage of this bill. Bike sharing is a huge win for Philadelphia on so many levels: health and wellness, tourism and hospitality, the environment and sustainability and so much more,” Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown said in a statement. “There is a huge opportunity for innovation; by studying what has worked in other cities, Philadelphia is uniquely positioned to implement the most comprehensive, effective bike sharing program in the nation.”

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Council Committee Authorizes Bike Share Bill; System to Start With 60 Stations in Spring 2015

Before a crowd of bicycle pin-clad enthusiasts, City Council’s Committee on Transportation and Public Utilities held a public hearing today on a bill authorizing our first ever bike share, which is scheduled to come in spring 2015.

Headed by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, the purpose of the hearing was to authorize the city to enter into an agreement with Bicycle Transit Systems, a Philly based company, to plan and operate a bicycle sharing program, and with B-cycle to provide bicycles, stations and tech platforms. The system will initially boast 60 stations spanning locations like the Navy Yard and Temple.

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Bike Share Coming to Philadelphia — But Not Until Next Year

The city is poised to announce a bike share program at 2, according to a media advisory released by the city. Mayor Michael Nutter and other city officials will appear at the steps of the Art Museum today to announce the “dream team” — the city’s words, not mine — it has selected to run the bike sharing program. Let’s hope the bike share program goes better than 8-8.

This “dream team” is not the 1992 Olympic basketball team, steamrolling opponents with ease — it needs time to create. The Inquirer’s Amelia Brust reports the bike share program won’t be hitting Philadelphia until spring of next year.

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Three Reasons Bike Share Will Succeed in Philly

I am thrilled that Philadelphia is getting a bike share program. And I am terrified the city is going to screw it up.

Let’s face it: This city doesn’t always have a great track record when it comes to implementing forward-thinking projects that benefit the common good. Remember the citywide wifi project? There’s no particular reason that shouldn’t have worked, except that we’re Philly … and sometimes these things just don’t work out.

Philadelphia institutions aren’t doing the greatest job these days. The schools are a near-disaster, and while City Hall isn’t in the same kind of trouble, agencies like L&I seem to veer between making it impossible to get a business started and letting dangerous demolitions occur with minimal supervision. So you can understand why I feel some trepidation about the ultimate success of a bike share program here.

There are three reasons for optimism, though.
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