Finally, New Details on Philly Bikeshare

During a bike share forum the city hosted Tuesday night, the crowd at the Academy of Natural Sciences was fed a few precious morsels of information regarding the forthcoming program, due in late 2014.

The system, as currently constituted, would feature two zones. The first would encompass Center City, University City and the Temple University area. There, the city’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) plans to install 100-120 stations housing 1,000-1,500 bikes. Zone 2, covering most of the city’s outer neighborhoods, from the stadium area up to Lehigh Avenue, would feature 150-200 stations and 500-1,000 bikes. All that, according to MOTU chief of staff Andrew Stober, would yield up to 1.9 million bike trips a year.

That would be more trips than D.C., Boston or Denver, whose programs were showcased during the forum. If that estimate seems somewhat unrealistic, the end-of-2014 start date apparently is not. Nicole Freedman, representing the city of Boston’s Hubway program, said that the one-year delay that her city’s program experienced resulted in large part from working out kinks that Philadelphia won’t have to, now that the bike-share groundwork has been laid by other cities. The Philly estimate “was probably spot-on, if not conservative,” she said.

Though most specifics haven’t been worked out yet–what to do about helmets, for instance–a few projections were put forward. The city aims to issue its request for proposal (RFP) this summer, and according to Stober, is strongly considering a 24-hour system, like those in Boston and D.C.