The Bike Lane Toolkit: Empowering Philadelphians to better understand, and request, bicycle infrastructure
In January 2016, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia released the Philadelphia Bike Lane Toolkit, an online resource meant to inform and empower Philadelphians to better request new bike lanes in their districts.
Higher quality bike lanes are needed to encourage more bicycling, and studies regularly show that more cyclists on makes streets safer for all road users.
Philadelphia has nearly 230 miles of bike lanes, but the greater bicycle network needs more, and better, lanes in order to close gaps and make its streets safer.
Many factors control when and where bike lanes are installed by the City of Philadelphia. One of those factors can be political: the support of City Council members. Sometimes—as in the case of creating a buffered or protected bike lane that removes a lane of vehicle traffic—there is a need to make clear to City Council members that they have constituent support for more and better bike lanes.
That’s where the Bike Lane Toolkit comes in.
Linked to the front page of BicycleCoalition.org, the Bike Lane Toolkit gives Philadelphia residents easy access to a map of their Councilmanic district, showing priority bike lanes in two tiers, then gives residents the opportunity to figure out which ones would be meaningful to their transportation needs.
Once the user has analyzed their district and where new bike lanes may be installed, they have the option of using the Bicycle Coalition’s internal petition system to write a short message to their Councilmember, explaining why bike lanes are a priority in their district, and which ones they’re excited to see built.
Of course, not everyone is aware of their Councilmanic district, or which sorts of bike lanes and infrastructure make sense on certain streets. The Bicycle Coalition therefore created a “Find Your District” page, allowing easy access to the City of Philadelphia’s Council District Map and search option, as well as a bicycle infrastructure glossary and FAQ section.
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia hopes the Toolkit can better empower Philadelphians to understand the importance of bike infrastructure on their streets, and better connect them with their Council representatives. The Bicycle Coalition will periodically take the petitions to City Council and other city officials to demonstrate the range of support for better streets.
To use the Bike Lane Toolkit, go to this link: Bike Lane Toolkit.