Great post on this over at the Naked Philly blog:
Bike share, if you’ve never heard of the concept, involves bicycles being available for use on a per ride basis, opening up cycling to people who don’t own their own bikes. Commonly, these programs include numerous docking stations located at various locations around downtown areas, allowing riders to pick up a bike at one station and drop it off at a station that’s within a couple of blocks of their destination.
Considering the concentrated downtown area in Philadelphia, the relatively flat nature of Center City, and the unfortunate propensity for nice bikes to get stolen off the street, it would seem like our green country towne would be a great candidate for a bike sharing program. And that’s just what Bike Share Philadelphia is hoping to achieve. In fact, there’s even a Feasibility Study that was done back in 2010 that pretty well establishes that a bike share program could indeed work in Philadelphia.
If you like this idea, here’s a petition.
Even if you don’t think you’d use bike share, this could be an important part of the development politics calculus. One frequent objection to new developments is that they will create demand for parking. People assume other people will want or need to use cars to get around. And so developers build a lot of extra parking, or city government mandates they build a bunch of extra parking, and so it is that development patterns proceed on an auto-oriented track, and ultimately fewer housing and office units end up getting built because of these parking fears.
Beefing up the alternatives to solo-driving, through stuff like bike-share, car-share, more frequent bus transit, higher frequency rail transit and better hours, ultimately allows you to build more housing and offices, since people will have a bunch of other modal choices besides solo-driving. Lots of pundits like to denigrate bike-share and complete streets as hipster issues, but look closer and you’ll see there’s plenty to like there for the building trades, developers, affordable housing advocates, etc.