Things are happening here in Philly. Over the last 10 years the city has revamped its self from a declining city to an urban environment that supports movement. Everywhere you look is a bike lane, a jam session in the park, a running group, a city wide happy hour, and young professionals making their way into vegan eateries.
While we only got a taste of Center City (not to ever be called the city center for some reason) Philadelphia surprised us with how bike friendly it is.
We met with Randy LoBasso, the Communication director for the Bicycle Coalition of greater Philadelphia for a ride around town and a discussion of what the city is doing to support and empower it's residents' ability to move through out the city.
Over the last 10 years, hundreds of miles of bike lanes have gone in, helping Philadelphia have one of the highest rates of bicycle commuters for any large city in America. As Randy said,
"A healthy city is one where people are free to move around..."
Philly seems to be becoming a healthier city by the day. After a long, 7 year process with countless community meetings and discussions, the city implemented a bike share system called Indego (http://bicyclecoalition.org/our-campaigns/bike-share/#sthash.zZDPjpiP.dpbs). While other cities may have had bike share systems before Philadelphia, they are doing it differently.
As Randy explained, the majority of bike share users are,
"... middle class white people who hop on the bike to ride three blocks to work..."
What Philadelphia is doing is placing a majority of the stations in lower income areas. This helps to empower the people who can really benefit from access to a bike.
Think about it- rather than $90 a month for a public transportation pass that means waiting for the bus, being restricted by routes, and wearing down the roads, one could pay $15 for unlimited access to a bike. This means riding wherever you want, whenever you want. The ability to find/hold a job is dependent on being able to get to your place of work. By giving more people access to bikes Philadelphia is empowering its residents to move and move freely.
We loved Philly and were sad to leave, but there are miles to be covered and people to meet.
Check out the Bicycle Coalition here: http://bicyclecoalition.org/