5 Best Moments from Philly’s New Bike Share Launch
Philadelphia’s new bike share program, Indego, finally launched today at a giant party at Eakins Oval. Mayor Michael Nutter says the kickoff was seven years in the making. Seven years. That’s nearly the entire time he’s been in office!
At the event, there was a giddy, impatient energy in the crowd, perhaps from waiting for all those years. There was dancing. There were cheerleaders waving pom-poms alongside dudes sporting bike caps and waxed mustaches. There was a DJ playing MJ. Oh, and there was a scary, unidentifiable aircraft. Here’s what else you missed:
- There were tons of shout-outs. Nutter and city officials thanked everyone from the 6,000 Philadelphians who participated in public outreach to the program’s sponsor, Independence Blue Cross, making it clear that the launch of the program was a citywide effort. See, Philadelphians can play nice.
- As Nutter was giving a speech at the launch, he looked up into the sky, which was brimming with menacing grey clouds. A massive, ominous-looking aircraft hovered above. “That’s not ours,” Nutter said. And then he moved on and didn’t discuss it again. No word yet on what that was or whether we’re all doomed!
- Worried about the cost of the bike share program to the local government? Nutter said the city’s investment of $3 million in the program had been leveraged to raise $13 million in private, state and federal funds.
- Officials said a Philadelphia-based company Bicycle Transit System will handle the maintenance of the bikes and bike stations, bringing some jobs to the local economy. The business has also set up shop in an old warehouse in Kensington that hadn’t been used since the 1980s. “This is the kind of transformative impact that bringing a new transportation system to a city can have,” said Andrew Stober, chief of staff in the Office of Transportation and Utilities.
- Hundreds of people participated in a Critical Mass-style “ride-off” at the end of the event. Nutter was at the helm, wearing his iconic pink bicycle tie. (Yes, Nutter has an iconic pink bicycle tie.) The Art Museum was the backdrop, and City Hall was straight ahead. And, of course, the DJ was playing “Eye of the Tiger.” Philadelphia!
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