Not long after the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia proposed 30 miles of new protected bike lanes under the new Kenney Administration (alongside a promise made by Kenney in a campaign document), the city received word that funding has been approved to begin that process.
As part of the $7.6 million in Transportation Alternatives Program project money recently awarded to the region by the DVRPC, Philadelphia will receive $300,000 for “on-road improvements,” according to the DVRPC’s press release, “including flexible delineator posts, signage, and pavement markings, for cyclists at designated locations throughout the City of Philadelphia.” An additional $200,000 has also been requested from PennDOT for improvements.
The Bicycle Coalition believes this is the beginning of a series of high-quality on-street, protected bike lanes, which will make the streets safer for all road users in Philadelphia.
There were 15 projects applied for by the City in the original TAP program, as shown in the map below.
And PlanPhilly has a nice breakdown of what many of them mean for Philly cyclists.
No. 8. N. 33rd Street Protected Bicycle Lanes: This conventional bike lane will be upgraded to protected.
No. 9. Spruce/Pine Street Protected Bike Lanes: Adds delineator posts to existing buffered bike lane running between 22nd and Front Streets.
No. 10. Walnut Street Protected Bike Lane: Adds delineator posts to existing, left-side bike lane from 23rd Street to 63rd Street. The city piloted protected bike lanes on the Walnut Street Bridge.
No. 11. 30th Street Protected Contraflow Bicycle Lane: The existing bike lane between Walnut and Market Streets will get delineator posts. Between Chestnut and Market, the bike lane is a contraflow lane— 30th Street automobile traffic flows south, but bicycle traffic goes north. As the Bicycle Coalition has noted, drivers frequently mistake contraflow bike lanes as a parking lane. The posts will help prevent that confusion.
No. 13. South/Lombard Streets Protected Bicycle Lanes: Lombard Street has a bike lane from 22nd Street until it curves at the base of the South Street Bridge. South Street has a bike lane from the bridge until 22nd. Both of these will be upgraded with delineator posts.
No. 14. Lindbergh Boulevard Protected Bicycle Lanes: New protected bike lanes will be painted along this connector street linking the John Heniz National Wildlife Refuge to Bartram’s Garden.
No. 15. Passyunk/Oregon Avenue Protected Bike Lanes: The West Passyunk Avenue’s bike lane currently disappears when the road spans the Schuylkill. Protected bike lanes will be added to the bridge. In a related but separate project, PennDOT will resurface the bridge’s grates, which can be particularly slippery and dangerous for bikes and motorcycles. Oregon Avenue’s existing bike lane between Passyunk Avenue and 22nd Street will also be upgraded to protected.
There are additional projects not included in the PlanPhilly descriptions above. As most projects are concerned, what they are described as now and what actually gets built could look different. Neighborhood groups have not yet been briefed on these projects. And the additional $200,000 has not yet been secured.
Nevertheless, the prospect of these projects, and the funding, is the result of many groups in the Philadelphia region working together to make safety a priority. Physically-separated lanes are a large part of a Vision Zero policy and have been proven to make streets safer for all road users.