It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Indego would not exist without Russell Meddin. From the offices of his nonprofit organization, Bike Share Philadelphia, to the countless meetings he organized with bike sharing manufacturers, operators, and innovators it seemed like Russell was on a first-name basis with everyone who had anything to do with shared micro-mobility across the country, and even across the globe.
In Philadelphia, Russell’s influence on bike share has impacted residents and communities across the city. From 2008, when he worked with the Academy of Natural Sciences to host a public forum, until his passing in April of 2020, Russell went above and beyond to bring bike sharing to the city that he loved. He was truly unique in his ability to persuade people to believe in his vision for bike share, pester those people who needed a nudge, and persist for years as his idea built momentum and became a reality. With his un-stated “Persuade, Pester, Persist” strategy, he succeeded in shifting Philadelphia into gear with bike share.
Bike share was a true passion for Russell, but his advocacy for Philadelphia did not end there. He was one of the founding members of the Schuylkill River Park Alliance which ultimately led to the permanent access to the Schuylkill River Trail that millions of people enjoy each year. He was a long-time board member of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and the Reading Terminal Market to name a few of his other civic activities.
Though Russell was generous with his advice, he was perhaps even more generous with his time. When the City was researching the feasibility of bike share in Philadelphia, Russell made sure we had the phone numbers of all his contacts at our fingertips. When we needed to see examples of research, or contracts, or equipment from elsewhere in the country or around the globe, Russell dug into his collection of information.* From the first demonstrations of the equipment that now makes up the Indego system, Russell was there to provide ample feedback on what worked and what didn’t. When it came time to choose locations for Indego stations, his answer was always, “EVERYWHERE!”
Russell’s work to improve Philadelphia lives on to this day and in memory of his legacy, the station at 24th and Race has been dedicated to Russell Meddin. Indego is honored to remember his contributions here in the neighborhood where he lived, near the trail he fought for, and in the city that he loved.
With admiration and appreciation, we thank you, Russell!
*Russell spent countless hours creating and updating The Meddin Bike-sharing World Map, a map of the world’s bike share services.
For more on Russell Meddin’s life and legacy, check out this blog published by the North American Bikeshare & Scootershare Association (NABSA), this tribute video created by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, and this resolution passed by City Council earlier this year.
This blog was written by Aaron Ritz, the Transportation Programs Manager at the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability.