Earlier this week, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia began hearing, and contributed to, complaints about the Delaware River Port Authority’s lack of plowing of the Ben Franklin Bridge. Earlier, we’d witnessed the surprise yanking of the flex-posts from the 5th Street Tunnel (which the DRPA also maintains) – for apparent better access to plowing over the winter – and then a lack of bike lane plowing after this year’s first snowfall.
The DRPA eventually plowed the walkway and tunnel, but members of the Bicycle Coalition wanted to speak directly with the DRPA to make sure this wouldn’t happen again.
Last night, Bicycle Coalition staff member Randy LoBasso and supporter Joseph Russell attended the DRPA Citizens Advisory Council meeting to speak to these concerns.
While there, DRPA CEO John Hanson explained that the tunnel’s lack of plowing was a mistake and that they’d prepared for the problem next time there’s a storm.
You can read my during-the-meeting live tweets by clicking below:
At the DRPA citizen’s advisory board meeting. Will be raising questions and tweeting about recent issues re 5th St tunnel/bridge
— Randy LoBasso (@RandyLoBasso) January 11, 2017
They are currently looking into finding ways to keep the flex-posts in the tunnel throughout the winter, but don’t currently have the capacity to do so – and will not put them back in the ground until the spring.
Russell brought up the idea of using small Bobcat snow plows that can fit in between small curbs and bike lanes—something that will become more important as Philadelphia adds more protected bike lanes to its network over the next three years. Hanson noted he was open to this idea and that the DRPA was currently in talks to either use their current equipment to do so, or invest in new equipment, but no decision had yet been reached.
We will continue monitoring this situation, as appropriate. Especially after the next snowfall.