Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell attended this weekend’s fundraiser for the Jamal C. Morris Foundation, and spoke positively about the upcoming protected bike lane on Chestnut Street and a commitment to street safety in her district.
“We are ready to make the city safer,” said Blackwell. “We are getting ready to pass legislation to create another [protected] bike lane on Chestnut St.”
The event, organized by Channabel Morris, was a memorial for her late son Jamal Morris, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver on Market Street in West Philadelphia last year. Since the crash, Channabel Morris has worked with the Bicycle Coalition to advocate for safer streets, which included an extension of the red light camera program in Pennsylvania. Morris actually spoke at our Vision Zero Conference earlier this year, focusing on what anyone can do to become an advocate and change laws.
Now, Morris has created a foundation to help two African-American engineering students attend Drexel University, the school Jamal attended, and his major and eventual career in Philadelphia. Additionally, the Jamal C. Morris Foundations works for bicycle safety initiatives
In addition to the Bicycle Coalition and Councilwoman Blackwell, those in attendance included representatives from Drexel, the Penn Police, and AME Church in New York (where Morris is from) and Philadelphia, and friends and family.
Jamal Morris’ friend Bill Mahon, a resident of Philadelphia, has worked alongside the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia in our lobbying efforts, and helped organize Saturday’s events.
Before the event took place, however, and even before Jamal was tragically killed on his bicycle last year, the Bicycle Coalition had been advocating for a protected bike lane on Chestnut Street in West Philadelphia.
Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell agreed the bike lane was needed at a recent community meeting, and introduced an ordinance that would create a parking-protected lane on Chestnut, between 45th and 34th Streets.
We are appreciative the Councilwoman has committed to making West Philadelphia safer for all road users. We will also continue working with stakeholders in the community to extend the bike lane past 45th Street, to Cobbs Creek, which is what we have been advocating for since 2011.
For more information about, and to donate to, the Jamal C Morris Foundation, click here.