We were psyched when Mayor Kenney mentioned protected bike lanes and his Vision Zero priorities during his first budget speech in March. Since then, the City has won a $300,000 award for twelve new protected bike lanes throughout the city, which will make the streets safer for all road users — something we had been working toward during last year’s campaign season (we called for 30 miles of protected bike lane as part of our Better Mobility platform) and a large topic of discussion in Philadelphia’s civic community as of late.
Which is why we’re so interested in the Kenney Administration’s “First 100 Days” document. Released earlier today, the document, available here, lists and explains the new administration’s projects and progress toward their goals. One of those goals: Protected bike lanes, which can become reality with your help.
Proposed projects and their Councilmanic Districts
Torresdale/Frankford Avenues Two-Way Protected Bike Lanes (6th District)
Race Street Protected Bike Lanes (1st District)
13th/10th Street Protected Bike Lanes (1st District)
Columbus Boulevard Protected Bike Lanes (1st District)
Parkside Avenue Protected Bike Lanes (4th District)
33rd Street (5th District)
Spruce/Pine Streets (1st and 2nd)
Walnut street (3rd District)
30th Street (3rd District)
Civic Center Boulevard (3rd District)
South/Lombard Streets (2nd District)
Lindberg Boulevard (2nd District)
Passyunk/Oregon (2nd District)
100 Days And Counting
The 22-page “100 Days” document includes progress on education, public safety, economic development, government efficiency, and accountability.
Having looked through the document and played a leading role in pushing for some of the public safety legislation involved within it, the Bicycle Coalition is optimistic about the work the Administration is working to accomplish, but has reservations with some of the tactics.
Below, find some of our thoughts and concerns.
Vision Zero Priorities
As noted in the 100 Days document, those policies are still a priority. “The entire administration made Vision Zero practices a priority, increasing enforcement around illegal sidewalk closures and organizing planning measures to make more systemic changes across the city, including protected bike lanes,” notes page 7.
Among those priorities: Proposed funding for the Office of Complete Streets and the Safer Streets task force. The Office of Complete Streets, according to the document, will seek to “ensure safe access to streets and destinations, whether you travel on foot, by bicycle, or bus”—something we’ve been pushing for to better enact changes to our streets, which are needed. The other thing, the Task Force, will support the Office of Complete Streets to help us get toward Vision Zero.
These are two good things, for sure, but as with all good things in government, the city needs to get them funded, something we’re going to be pushing for during the city’s upcoming budget hearings. Because as of now, neither the Office nor Task Force exist.
We will be putting out additional information for those supporters of Vision Zero who would like to participate in those budget hearings, in the coming weeks.
We’re encouraged by the statements in this report, and we will be working closely to make sure the office and task force are created and up and running as soon as possible.
Vision Zero Language Issues
Although Vision Zero is mentioned as a “practice,” it’s important that the efforts proposed by the current Administration be set within the Vision Zero context. We are worried the city will not brand their priorities “Vision Zero” — and this could be a problem.
Sure, the actual term “Vision Zero” is a little awkward to say, but the work in making Vision Zero a brand has already been done over the last 20 years. Vision Zero also points those cities who adopt it toward an easy-to-remember, numerical goal: Zero!
Saying you’re going to “Change” streets (i.e. the Roosevelt Blvd. “Route for Change”) or make them “Safer” (i.e., the “Safer Streets Task Force”) is fine, but the goal for such changes should be zero deaths, and it’s important all Philadelphians are aware of that goal. The language and brand exists; let’s use it.