Pedal power

Riders get ready to take a spin at the Berks Street El stop in Fishtown. PHOTOS COURTESY OF AARON RITZ

Car and foot aren’t the only options to get around the bustling and burgeoning Fishtown Kensington Area Business Improvement District.

Currently, there are three Indego bike stations within the entity’s boundaries, located at Front Street and Girard Avenue, the Berks Street El stop and Frankford Avenue and Master Street.

Marc Collazzo, executive director at Fishtown BID, reached out to the program just before the holidays to talk about expansion in the neighborhood.

“The Fishtown Kensington Area Business Improvement District will be engaging our stakeholders, property owners, business leaders and their employees, patrons and residents, for suggested bike share infill locations, possible bicycle lanes and bike rack installation areas,” he said.

Recent outreach efforts, including a transportation seminar and accompanying survey, identified the community’s wants, according to Collazzo.

“[They] confirmed the desire of our residents, business/property owners, workers and stakeholders to increase usage of bicycles as a primary mode of travel,” he said.  “Accordingly, the Fishtown District is proud to announce our partnership with Indego to bring additional bike share stations, bicycle parking and new cycling routes to our area.” 

Collazzo stressed the need for inclusivity of opinions in regard to where new stations should be placed.

“We will do so with our partners at Indego and OTIS by way of social media engagement, surveys and virtual meetings, so that we can formalize a plan that enhances the Vision Plan of the Fishtown District and meet the current travel needs for all that make our commercial corridor the perfect place to live, shop, dine, work and play,” he said. “We will also ensure engagement and participation by our community partners and neighborhood organizations.” 

Since launching in 2015, the City of Philadelphia bike-share initiative has added more than 160 stations, with a goal of having more than 350 stations and 3,500 at the conclusion of its ongoing, five-year  expansion.

Different payment options are offered to riders based on usage.

Since its inception the Indego initiative has been funded by various sources including Independence Blue Cross, the City of Philadelphia’s capital budget, state grants and Bicycle Transit Systems, according to Aaron Ritz, transportation programs manager with the Office of Transportation & Infrastructure Systems at the City of Philadelphia.

In 2022, more than 30 stations and 400 bikes will be added throughout the city.

“This will include two to three new spots in the greater Fishtown/Kensington area, and additional stations over the coming years,” Ritz said. 

With new stations in the works, Indego, with support from the Fishtown BID, is seeking community input on where they should be located in the community.

“The Indego program is always looking to get connected with community organizations as we plan for the growth of the program,” Ritz said. 
The connection to the community organizations forms a path to solicit feedback from residents.

“Indego believes that community residents, organizations and businesses are key stakeholders wherever we work,” Ritz said. “They know their part of Philly better than anyone and we rely on that knowledge to find the best places for us to grow.”

Factors considered when selecting new station locations include proximity to community resources, connection to other nearby transportation modes, community demand and space availability, according to Ritz.

Having a say is easy, with Indego’s Suggest-A-Station page continuously operating.

“We review the suggestions regularly when we are planning to expand into a new neighborhood, or simply to find out where there are gaps in the current coverage of Indego,” Ritz said.

Riders can expect to see new stations begin to arrive over the summer, according to Ritz.

Getting more people pedaling is the ultimate goal with added stations.

“More trips, more options for people, more fun,” Ritz said. “Bike share works best as a system, and we know that the more places people can go to find a station and get a bike, the better it will work for all of the reasons that people choose to ride a bike, whether that be for transportation, recreation, health or just something fun to do.” ••

To provide feedback on potential Indego bike stations, email marc@fishtownbid.org or visit www.rideindego.com/suggest-a-station/.  For updates, follow @Rideindego on social media, subscribe to the monthly newsletter, or visit the expansion blog on rideindego.com.

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