Will Philly Bike Share Cause NIMBY Nightmares?

It’s actually happening: Philly is getting a bike share program, the details of which were released yesterday. The city predicts it’ll be ready to go by next summer, so we’ll all be zooming around like it’s Paris.

The bikes, though, have to live somewhere, and as a few recent New York dustups have demonstrated, bike stations aren’t welcome by everyone. Residents from one West Village building sued the city to stop the installation of a rack because they believed it would encourage cyclists to ride on the sidewalk. In Tribeca, a restaurant owner said the bike racks took up parking spaces.

If there’s a NIMBY nightmare to be had, Philadelphia is pretty good at having it. But there’s so much enthusiasm for the bike share program, it’s hard to imagine what kind of curmudgeonly person would spoil the eco-friendly fun.

Here’s the scoop on where the stations will be from BeWell:

• Philly’s bike-share program will be rolled out in phases, with stations first going into the Center City area—basically from river to river and South to Spring Garden streets, give or take a block or two. Phase II will see the addition of more bikes and stations in areas like West Philly and surrounding neighborhoods, including Fishtown, Point Breeze and Temple.

• Philly’s system will launch with between 100 and 120 stations and include about 1,500 bikes. Planners are aiming for a station density of 13 stations per square mile in the “core area” (i.e. Center City), with an overall density system-wide of eight stations per square mile.

• The team is currently scouting locations for where stations will be located. They were vague on specifics but said they’ve already identified 130 potential sites where bike stations would fit without taking away any parking spots.

A thought! It is: If even one Center City resident who insistently touts Philadelphia’s parallels with Paris objects to the installation of a bike share rack near Rittenhouse Square, that will be too many.