In early October a group of Bloustein graduate students were given an glimpse of big city bicycle and pedestrian planning from a governmental perspective. Nine students from the Walk Bloustein Bike Bloustein graduate student organization traveled to Philadelphia to meet with representatives from the Philadelphia’s Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) and Bicycle Transit Systems (BTS).
MOTU is a mayoral agency that participates in a wide variety of work ranging from advocacy to implementation. Near the top floor of the Municipal Services Building, the students enjoyed a nearly two-hour discussion with MOTU program managers about bicycle and pedestrian planning challenges in Philadelphia. The students had a rare opportunity to meet these planners in a small group and have an extended meeting about the daily reality of planning in a major city. Major projects, departmental successes and failures, and what the day-to-day job is like for these planners were some of the topics discussed.
After meeting with MOTU the students headed to North Philadelphia for a meeting with Bicycle Transit Systems (BTS), the company that oversees the city’s bikeshare system Indego. In front of the office dog and a bevy of carnivorous plants, the BTS Access Manager led a discussion about how BTS was initially created in response to Philadelphia’s desire for bikeshare, but has expanded into several other cities. She talked about the growth Philadelphia has experienced thanks to a key group of partners, the potential changes for the Indego system, and Philadelphia’s unique cash membership option. After the discussion she led a tour of the Indego warehouse, a recently renovated building in the Ludlow neighborhood.