Editor’s Note: Over the next week, the Bicycle Coalition will be showcasing our Year-in-Review, which is also available at BicycleCoalition2016.org
The Bicycle Coalition and active citizens began meeting with City Council officials and their staffs in April to talk about how to make their districts safer for bicyclists — a direct result of the Bike Lane Toolkit.
Throughout the spring, Coalition staff and constituents met with Districts 1,2, 3, 5, and 7 to discuss new bike lanes in those parts of the city, which respectively represent South Philadelphia, North Philadelphia, West Philadelphia and Center City. We provided constituents and Councilmembers with maps of the districts, planned lanes, and funded lanes.
The strategy and meetings were frustrating, for sure, but gave residents a chance to let their representatives know that they care about safety for all — not just those with the privilege of owning a motor vehicle.
Bicyclist Killed; Bicycle Coalition and Victim’s Family Go To Work
Jamal Morris, of West Philadelphia, was killed on his bicycle on Market Street in April.
Tragically, Philadelphia engineer Jamal Morris was killed by a hit-and-run driver after riding his bicycle on Market Street in West Philadelphia on April 19.
Morris’ family and friends soon contacted the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and asked how we could work together to make Philly’s streets safer for cyclists.
There were, of course, many ways to work to make 45th and Market, where Morris was killed, safer. The Bicycle Coalition informed Morris’ mother, and his friends, of three bills we were currently working on in the state Government, as part of a Vision Zero Action Plan:
HB 950 — Extend the Red Light Enforcement Program to the Year 2027
SB1034 — Create a Pilot Program for Photo Cameras
SB 535 — Allow local police to use radar for speed enforcement
Over the next few months, the Bicycle Coalition and Morris’ friends and family would travel to Harrisburg and Philadelphia City Hall to talk about ways to make our streets safer. The Morris family would also join a meeting with the Bicycle Coalition and Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell (the district in which Jamal was tragically killed) about ways to make Philadelphia safer via new infrastructure, including a protected bike lane on Chestnut Street in West Philadelphia
And our hard work would begin paying off: Our advocacy helped extend Pennsylvania’s red light camera law another 10 years. Red light cameras have been proven to make motor vehicle users safer on roads, and the revenue created through automated ticketing goes directly into better engineering for streets. Red light cameras also bring in approximately $5 million to the state of Pennsylvania each year, half of which goes to the City of Philadelphia.
The Bicycle Coalition and our allies continue to stand beside Morris’ family and friends to work for safety on our streets. In 2017, Morris’ mother, Channabel, will join the Bicycle Coalition at our annual Vision Zero Conference.
County Affiliates Push for Better Suburban Bicycling
Bike Camden County, the Bicycle Coalition’s newest county affiliate group, launched in April with the goals of tracking implementing the county’s bicycles and trails plan, as well as Camden County’s cross-county spine trail.
Bike Bucks County organized support for the Newtown Rail Trail in Northampton Township.
In addition to bringing residents out to local meetings for the new trail, the Bicycle Coalition worked with Bike Bucks County to generate hundreds of letters to Township Supervisors and petitions to create a new connection for The Circuit in Bucks County.