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PHILADELPHIA cyclists, rejoice!
City Council's Transportation and Public Utilities Committee approved a bill Saturday that would pave the way for a bike sharing program in Philadelphia
The bill, introduced by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, now moves to Council for a full vote.
"Bike sharing will bring Philadelphia to the next level of bike friendliness, sustainability and put us on par with tourism and hospitality destination cities across the world," said Reynolds Brown.
If passed by Council, riders will be able to use bikes at one of 60 stations throughout the city beginning in spring 2015.
The stations would be located from the Navy Yard to north of Temple University, and from the Delaware River to 52nd Street.
"In its first two years, we expect that the system will grow to a final size of 150 to 200 bike share stations and 1,500 to 2,000 bikes and that it will serve the core of Philadelphia and beyond,"said Andrew Stober, chief of staff for the Mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities during testimony before the committee.
The city will initially provide up to $3 million to Bicycle Transit Systems, the Philly-based company chosen to provide, operate and maintain the integrated bike-share system, he said. The funds will be used for delivery, planning and installation.
Operating costs will be funded entirely by user fees and sponsorship revenue, Stober said.
"When citizens choose bikes over cars," Reynolds Brown said, " it is a win on multiple levels; promoting exercise, fitness and tourism, while reducing our carbon footprint."
Joining more than 700 cities worldwide that have also integrated bike share, Stober said Philadelphia will be putting its own twist on the business model.
"Philadelphia plans to be the first bike share system in the U.S. to offer access to residents without credit or debit cards from day one," he said.
Ultimately Reynolds Brown said that the implementation of bike share will aid in providing easier access to all that Philadelphia has to offer.
"Tourists and citizens alike will find it easier to attend our many cultural assets, which are spread across the city," she said.