On Friday, members of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia held a memorial for the still unidentified victim of a traffic crash on the 4700 block of Whitaker Avenue in the Feltonville section of North Philadelphia.
The crash occurred on February 17 while the victim, a male in his 30s, was exiting his motor vehicle on the block.
As we will do for every identified pedestrian death in 2018, members of the Bicycle Coalition put up a sign at the corner of Whitaker and Wyoming Avenues to denote a pedestrian had been killed on this block.
About 100 people are killed in traffic crashes in Philadelphia every year. While about a third of them had typically been pedestrians and cyclists, in 2017, that percentage jumped to 45 percent. The City of Philadelphia has adopted a Vision Zero platform, using legislative and enforcement changes to reach zero deaths by 2030, but many of the implementations are not happening fast enough.
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Maybe you haven’t noticed yet, but we’ve stepped up our game in the suburbs in the past year. With new funding from the William Penn Foundation, we’ve been able to hire our “new” Regional Planner Leonard Bonarek, our first full-time staffer dedicated exclusively to suburban and Circuit issues.
He put together a star-studded agenda for the new Bike DelCo kickoff meeting that featured Greg Krykewycz of the DVRPC, who showed us the ins and outs of its new LTS dataset, Ryan Judge of DelCo Planning Department, who gave us a trail update, Leonard’s BCGP update, and an introduction to our new DelCo Affiliate Chair Amarjit Singh. Also on hand were our Research Director John Boyle and Executive Director Sarah Clark Stuart. Folks, we rocked the Media/Upper Providence Free Library. We did. More
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On Thursday, Feb. 22, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell introduced legislation to broaden the reach of Council’s control over bike lanes. The bill proposes language that “any modification to an existing bicycle lane that would affect the flow of traffic” would require an ordinance.
This legislation, if made into law, would make it harder, costlier, and more time consuming for Philadelphia to make its streets safer.
Traffic crashes kill on average 100 Philadelphians a year, and 45 percent of them in 2017 were pedestrians or bicyclists. This figure hasn’t changed much in the past five years.
Philadelphia has a Vision Zero goal of eliminating deaths by 2030 and a three-year Vision Zero Action Plan. Other cities have demonstrated great success in saving lives by installing all kinds of safety measures to make streets safer for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists; New York City for example, saw a 32 percent drop in pedestrian fatalities because of action it took to make streets safe. Philadelphia should be emulating that kind of progress.
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For Immediate Release: Thursday, Febraury 22
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia will hold a short Vision Zero memorial for the recent victim of a crash in the Feltonville section of Philadelphia, and all victims of traffic violence, on Friday, February 23.
The victim, who has not yet been identified, was hit by a driver while exiting his car on the 4700 block of Whitaker Avenue.
The Bicycle Coalition will meet at 11am at 4700 Whitaker Avenue to put up a Vision Zero Memorial sign and bring attention to another pedestrian killed on our streets.
Throughout 2018, the Bicycle Coalition is calling greater attention to pedestrian and bicyclist deaths throughout Philadelphia, no matter where they occur.
Earlier in February, the Bicycle Coalition met the Gabay family after they lost 21-year-old Daniela to traffic violence on Roosevelt Boulevard the day after the Philadelphia Eagles victory parade.
The Bicycle Coalition is holding these memorials throughout the year not only to bring attention to the people who lose their lives on our streets, but to the legislative changes that can help curb the rising rate of pedestrian deaths.
While we are encouraged by the Kenney Administration’s moves to create safer streets, the pace needs to increase to make progress toward the goal of eliminating fatal traffic crashes.
Additionally, there are simple changes the Pennsylvania Legislature could make – such as allowing Philadelphia to utilize speed cameras on Roosevelt Boulevard – that would have a positive impact on safety.
WHO: The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, supporters
WHAT: Vision Zero Memorial for Victim of Crash in Feltonville
WHERE: 4700 Whitaker Avenue
WHEN: Friday, February 23, 11am
Contact: Randy LoBasso, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, 215-242-9253 Ext. 311
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In their March issue, Philadelphia magazine published a first-person piece about motor vehicle gridlock, mostly using the company’s chief content and strategy officer’s personal commute as anecdotal evidence that Philadelphia is currently experiencing a “traffic apocalypse.”
It used to take writer Tom McGrath “two, maybe three Tom Petty songs” to go 33 blocks through West Philadelphia after arriving in the city from his suburban home. Now, according to the writer, because of more people, construction, delivery trucks, ride sharing and, yep, bike lanes, traffic in Philadelphia sucks.
There are other examples: It takes McGrath’s friend, the Graduate Hospital-based Joan, “double the time it used to to get to work in the morning,” according to the piece. And Mayor Jim Kenney was late for a Philadelphia magazine event last fall, for which the mayor blamed traffic.
But the piece isn’t all complaints. McGrath actually seeks to figure out his problem through the course of the article. In speaking to city planner Jonas Maciunas and other “traffic geeks,” McGrath learns a few things about the history of our streets, and how they work.
The author later concludes that people like him probably need to be convinced to not drive in the city anymore—because, you know, they don’t have to. This is good! McGrath even admits there’s public transportation in his town that could take him into the city. Still, because of his own “culture,” he’s not willing to.
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Coopers Ferry Partnership and the City of Camden have kicked off their work to perform a bike share feasibility study for the City of Camden. The study is being conducted by the Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) at Rutgers in partnership with ofo dockless bike share and was funded through a grant from the William Penn Foundation. It’s goal: to see if Camden is ready for bike sharing.
The project will include a pilot test deployment of ofo bikes later this year. Before that happens, BPRC will be reaching out to stakeholders and Camden residents for their input, the outcomes from those meetings will determine where and how ofo bikes will be deployed in the city. Data collected from bike share usage demand patterns along with user feedback will be included in the study to inform City leadership on how to best develop a permanent bike share program.
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The Delaware River Port Authority has announced the closure tomorrow, February 22nd, for construction of an ADA Accessible ramp on the Ben Franklin Bridge in Camden, NJ. The project will take approximately 14 months and bikes and pedestrians will be detoured onto the north walkway during that time.
From 1926 to 1950 the walkways on both sides of the bridge carried pedestrians and bicyclists over the bridge between Camden and Philadelphia. After a road widening project in 1950, the walkways closed for good. It wasn’t until the Bicycle Coalition of the Delaware Valley (which we were called at the time) approached the DRPA in 1973 did the walkway reopen. Former BCDV President Bob Thomas has said that the DRPA claimed that the bridge was not reopened due to the Korean War.
The Bicycle Coalition successfully convinced the Authority to reopen the bridge from 7AM to 6PM.
The issue on Ben Franklin Bridge access later flared up in the late 1990s as the Authority closed the Bridge walkway for a lighting project. The Bicycle Coalition and the DVRPC negotiated with the DRPA to open up the north walkway for the first time since 1950 during the project. It is likely that it was at this point when the infamous “cattle chute” was constructed. The north walkway on the Camden side was never replaced with concrete after the road widening because the project ran out of money.
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It is with great disappointment that we share the news (if you haven’t read already in CyclingNews or PhillyMag) that the Independence Classic, the monicker given to the race once known as the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic, is definitely not happening in 2018.
Despite reports last September that the race was placed on professional cycling calendars, we have several confirmations that the Cycling Classic or PICC or Manayunk Bike Race (take your pick of names) is definitely not happening.
1. We received an email from the Managing Director’s Office in early February that no permit was ever applied for:
“We have not received a special event application from Foundry Sports.”
2. We received an email response to our inquiry from USA Cycling
“I have received confirmation that the event is not going forward and it’s being removed from our calendars.” — Jeffrey Hansen, Director of Product Management and Operations, USA Cycling
3. This news was foreshadowed when Robin Morton of g4, the company that ran the PICC for several years, reported on her website in November that it would not be part of the race:
After working on the Philly bike race from 2013 to 2016, the Independence Cycling Classic will not be on the g4 Productions calendar in 2018. For any information regarding this event, please contact event owner Foundry Sports Group at (314) 499-8181 or visit www.foundrysportsgroup.com.
We tried to contact the company several times, sending emails (which bounced back) and leaving voicemails. Their Twitter account hasn’t tweeted since April 2017.
The race has been on the ropes for several years, as the high cost of road closures and lack of corporate sponsorship made for a bad combination.
The loss of the Race is sad for Philadelphia, sad for professional cycling and sad for the thousands of fans who cheered with gusto for professional athletes as they climbed the Manayunk Wall and Lemon Hill.
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The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia conducts bike counts every year, utilizing volunteers to figure out how many bicyclists per hour are using individual lanes throughout the city, and what effect infrastructure has on where bicyclists travel.
In 2017, the U.S. Census found that 2.2 percent of Philadelphians ride bicycles as their means of transportation, which means Philadelphia continues to be the most-biked city in the United States with more than 1 million residents. Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and San Diego round out the top five.
Our own bike counts involve Bicycle Coalition staff members and volunteers standing at street corners throughout the city, and counting the number of cyclists who go by. We make note of which way the person is riding, the perceived gender of the person, whether the person was wearing a helmet, and whether the person was on an Indego bike.
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On Thursday afternoon, 8-year-old Lela Cruz was struck and killed by an elderly motorist who lost control of his vehicle on the 400 block of State Street in North Camden.
She was riding her bike on the sidewalk when the motorist drove over the curb, hit another adult victim and the stoop of a house, which caused the vehicle to roll on its side and strike Lela, who was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
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