Philadelphia didn’t need Bicycling magazine to confirm that it is one of America’s best biking cities (No. 17 on its 2012 list). You can see it every day on the streets:
Near northeast corner, May 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The steady stream of commuters sluicing down Center City‘s bike lanes. The tangle of bikes hitched to U-shaped racks and bike corrals. (More, please.) The proliferation of neighborhood bike shops.
Philadelphia probably could have ranked higher in the magazine’s esteem if it had a bike-sharing program, like most of the list’s top 20 cities. You can now find cheap, on-street bike rentals in more than 135 places around the world, many of them with worse weather and hillier streets than Philadelphia. Yet the city has remained strangely ambivalent toward the concept, even as private bikes have become a popular transit option within the city.
But the sight of Mayor Nutter tooling around Rittenhouse Square last week on a canary-yellow cruiser suggests Philadelphia is finally ready to commit. To show the city’s seriousness, his Transportation Department organized a daylong bike-sharing demonstration with three top vendors, supplying a docking-station’s worth of bikes in paint-box colors.
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