Speak Up for Safer Streets Before City Council

bike lane pothole1There is a golden opportunity to speak your mind about the future of Philadelphia’s streets, sidewalks and bicycle infrastructure.

On April 21st at 2pm, the Streets Department will testify about its budget before City Council. At 5:30pm, Council will hear public testimony. We urge you to help send a message to City Council by testifying on the following three topics:

State of Good Repair –  The Streets Department is severely underfunded.  Without enough funding, Philadelphia’s streets can’t be repaved, bike lanes can’t be installed and intersections can’t be made safer. The Streets Department’s operating budget is 0.7% of the General Fund. On a per capita basis, Baltimore spends $143 on its streets while Philadelphia spends $16.  New York City has approximately one NYCDOT worker for every mile of street, while Philadelphia has one Streets Department employee for every 5 miles.  That’s one reason why Philadelphia has a 900 mile backlog in unpaved streets.  The Streets Department should have enough capital funding to repave 130 miles of streets a year. FY16’s budget will allow it to repave approximately 75 miles, which while an improvement over FY15, is still not enough to dig itself out of this backlog of streets in disrepair.

Talking Point: Mayor Nutter’s proposed operating and capital proposed budget for the Streets Department is an improvement, although still not enough.  The paving budget needs to be doubled to give the Streets Department the resources it needs to do its job.  City Council should approve Mayor Nutter’s proposed FY16 operating and capital budget for the Streets Department and provide more funding in future years.

Bike Lane Installation –  The Streets Department needs to implement the Pedestrian/Bicycle Plan and install recommended bicycle facilities when it repaves streets.  Philadelphia added 6 miles of bike lanes annually between 2008-2013, while Pittsburgh added 8, Chicago 12 and Boston 13 miles.  Bicycle infrastructure makes city streets safer for all users by calming speeding traffic.  City Council members should support adding bike lanes to the bicycle network, not standing in the way of them and keeping streets unsafe unnecessarily.

Talking Point: Council should support the Streets Department’s efforts to install recommended bicycle lanes and should support the installation of higher quality bike lanes, such as protected bike lanes.

Make Washington Avenue Safer –  The Philadelphia City Planning Commission has a well conceived plan that has been thoroughly vetted through numerous public meetings to make Washington Avenue safer.  Over a year has passed since PCPC released its findings and recommended a new pavement marking plan that requires removing a travel lane in two sections of the corridor. Ordinances are needed for the Streets Department to implement this plan.

Talking Point: City Council needs to take action now to make Washington Avenue safer for all users.  Please introduce the ordinances necessary to make Washington Avenue safer for all users.  

If you would like to testify about these issues, please contact Council President Darrell Clarke’s office at 215-686-3407 and sign up to testify on April 21st at 5:30pm.

More information about Philadelphia’s paving budget is available via our research:

Safer Streets Report

Better Mobility Platform

Questions about these issues? Email or give us a call: 215-242-9253.

Topics: Action Center, Biking in Philly, Featured

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