National Bike to Work Day
18 May 2012
Bike to Work Day is an important way to demonstrate the demand for better cycling infrastructure in Philadelphia. Washington D.C.’s September 2010 launch of Capital Bikeshare, has put more than 1,000 red rental bikes on the streets, accounting for nearly 2 million trips to date, and contributing to a 169% increase in the number of people commuting to work by bike (now at 3.1%). New York and Los Angeles have begun to implement even larger bike-sharing systems, along with new bike lane infrastructure, and it is crucial that Philadelphia also do so in order to support a better urban environment and the kind of innovation economy that Drexel University hopes to develop here.
Philadelphia’s Greenworks 2035 plan specifically calls for efforts to be made to increase trips made by bicycles, and that this should be done by expanding infrastructure. It also explicitly calls for better bicycle connections to 30th St. Station, where Drexel University can be crucial to bringing this plan to life through its Strategic Plan. On average, 5 of every 100 commuters in Center City, West Philly and South Philly is on a bicycle (5.4%, 4.15% & 4.73% commuting by bike, respectively). 2 out of every 5 cyclists, is a woman.
The Spruce Street and Pine Street buffered bicycle lanes are the first the City has installed at the cost of a travel lane. As reported in the “Crosstown Connection | Pilot Project Findings” from MOTU by Andrew Stober (December, 2009), the Spruce and Pine street bike lane implementations of 2009/2010 have slowed the fastest driving cars, while simultaneously creating a safe cycling environment, and increasing order and smoothness of automobile vehicle flow. Ridership increased, and both serious vehicular crashes and fender benders saw significant decreases, while enabling the same average motor vehicle speed. Yet, two years later, in 2011, when the City tried to parlay those successes into support for two more buffered bike lanes (cutting through the East side of Center City on 10th and 13th Street), the plan was met with great resistance. It is time for Philadelphia to catch up with other major cities in the USA in implementing a modern bicycle infrastructure that will have beneficial economic and quality of life impacts across the city.
Dr. Sheller, Director of the mCenter, supervised two University of Arts students, Nicolas Coia and Dominic Prestifillipo, in their thesis for the Masters in Industrial Design on bike infrastructure in Philly, who will be hosting a panel discussion at Next American City’s Storefront for Urban Innovation (2816 W. Girard Ave) on May 31st, 6:30-8pm. The event on “The State of Cycling in Philadelphia” will have a short presentation on the challenges and opportunities of implementing bike infrastructure in Philadelphia. For more info: