Indego, the city's bike-sharing system, celebrated its first birthday on Thursday. And as with any good birthday party, there were a lot of presents - from 24 new docking stations to 300 new bikes and a new way for low-income residents to pay to use the system.
Mayor Kenney led the celebrations on a sun-splashed Race Street Pier, one of the locations to get a new docking station.
Kenney admitted to being surprised by the success of the program, which by the end of 2015 reported 8,300 memberships and 421,000 rides taken.
"I thought it would be successful, [but] probably not as successful as it is," he said. "We have a new cohort of people living in the city who want this kind of service."
Funding for the expansion was provided in part by a $1.5 million grant from the William Penn Foundation.
"We're excited to see Indego expand to surrounding neighborhoods so that more of Philadelphia's residents can benefit from greater access to other parts of the city," said Dr. Janet Haas, who chairs the foundation's board. "This expansion creates opportunities for neighborhoods that in the past may have been somewhat isolated."
This spring will see 24 new stations come online across Philadelphia, from Pennsport to Strawberry Mansion.
There's a heavy emphasis on neighborhoods north and west of Center City in the new round of stations. Eight of them will be in a swath of the city bounded by Fairmount and Pennsylvania Avenues to the south, 33rd and Dauphin to the northwest and 22nd Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue to the east.
West of the Schuylkill, new stations will come online at 34th Street and Mantua Avenue, 42nd Street and Lancaster Avenue, and 46th and Market. The last of those is likely to be a connector point for Indego riders throughout West Philadelphia to SEPTA's Market-Frankford Line.
The northernmost station will be at 33rd and Dauphin, and the westernmost at 46th and Market.
As Indego plans to take its total number of stations to over 100, there are designs to head toward the hot restaurants on East Passyunk Avenue, the stadiums at the Sports Complex and, eventually, the Navy Yard.
"We are working toward that goal with each successive expansion," said Cara Ferrentino, who works on the Indego program from within the city's Office of Transportation and Infrastructure.
She wouldn't give a target date, as further expansion of the program is dependent in part on grants from outside sources. So if you're hoping to ride an Indego bike to a Phillies game, it might be a little while.
Ultimately, Ferrentino said, the city intends to expand the system north to Lehigh Avenue and west to 52nd Street.
Indego's arrival in some of the city's poorer neighborhoods comes with a new way for low-income residents to use the service. After becoming the first bike-share program in North America to offer a cash-based payment system, Indego will now allow Pennsylvania ACCESS cardholders to get 30 days of unlimited one-hour rides for just $5.
As for the new bikes, they have some different design elements from the first generation of 700 or so two-wheelers.
The new model retains the same bright blue color scheme, but ditches the front- and rear-mounted steel mesh baskets which some riders have treated as trash receptacles. Instead, there is one big storage space in front of the handlebars, with open sides but a hinged cover to hold a bag or box securely.
Indego's expansion - and the general increase in cycling citywide - will likely increase demand for more protected bike lanes. Kenney said he and City Council are paying attention.
"There's room enough on the agenda to talk about this issue and have a cooperative approach moving forward," he said.
For now, Kenney added, "drivers have to understand that they don't own the street, and they need to accommodate every mode of transportation. If we all work together and cooperate, we'll get it done."
Finally, a new mobile app was announced that provides a station locator, live data on how many bikes and spaces are available at each station, and the ability to contact Indego customer service on the fly. The app is available for Android and Apple iOS devices.
The full list of new Indego stations: