Last year, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia told you about the several meetings we held with Councilman Bobby Henon (D-6) about getting physically-protected bike lanes in the 6th District, which includes Northeast Philadelphia. Councilman Henon was an early proponent for higher quality bicycle infrastructure and asked the Bicycle Coalition to work with him to find a suitable location for a protected bike lane.
What emerged from meetings and discussions between him, Coalition staff and the Streets Department, was a plan to place a protected bike lane on Ryan Avenue between Lexington and Rowland Streets.
In May 2015, the City announced its intention to design the protected bike lane on Ryan Avenue. One year later, the City is now ready to install the new design this coming summer.
And after briefing the Councilman and the Mayfair Civic Association earlier this week, all signals appear to be a go.
Parking-protected lanes put a parked car and bollards between the bicyclist and motor vehicle traffic. The final plans for the Ryan Avenue 2 -way protected bike lane is now up on the Streets Department’s website.
The Ryan Avenue 2-way protected lane is along Pennypack Park and will help make the ride safer for those students who commute by bicycle to both Austin Meehan Middle School and Abraham Lincoln High School, both located along the street. It is also part of the scenic Mayfair walking and biking loop that borders the School District of Philadelphia property and Pennypack. It will consolidate existing standard bike lanes on either side of the street over to one side and shift the parking lane over to protect the 2-way bike lane. The new configuration will not impact parking or the travel lanes.
“While Philadelphians continue to embrace the bike share system and to utilize cycling as a source of exercise and transportation, it is important that the city finds ways to keep riders safe,” Councilman Bobby Henon told the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. “Protected bike lanes are essential for building a safe environment for cycling and for encouraging more people to put on a helmet and hit the road. I am proud to support protected bike lanes in my district and look forward to seeing more lanes designated citywide.”
Getting these bike lanes approved and installed represents a huge first step toward a protected bike lane network in Philadelphia — and it will help make bicycling safer and more comfortable for Philadelphia bicyclists who regularly use the street to get to school, the park, or, really, anywhere.
Here’s some of what the Streets Department has put on their site, explaining the project:
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A TWO-WAY PROTECTED BICYCLE LANE?
Decrease conflict points between bicyclists and drivers.
Increase safety for bicyclists by adding a parking lane and a vertical element between vehicle and cyclists space in the roadway.
Increase pedestrian safety by adding more space between pedestrians and moving vehicles.
WHERE WILL THE TWO-WAY PROTECTED BIKE LANE BE INSTALLED?
The two-way protected bike lane will be between Rowland Avenue and Lexington Avenue on the east side of Ryan Avenue. This safety improvement is expected to be installed in summer 2016.
WHY RYAN AVENUE?
Ryan Avenue is an important link between the Mayfair and Lexington Park neighborhoods and the Pennypack Creek Park. The two-way protected bike lane will improve safety for bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers who travel through or travel on Ryan Avenue. The avenue was chosen because of its:
Proximity to Pennypack Park,
Underutilized median area, and
Existing bicycle lanes and key link in the bicycle network.
HOW WILL CYCLISTS USE THE TWO-WAY PROTECTED BICYCLE LANE?
Cyclists will enter the two-way protected bicycle lane using the “bicycle box” or the two staged left turn at Rowland and Lexington Avenues. The intersections of Rowland & Ryan Avenues and Lexington & Ryan Avenues are both controlled by traffic signals. Within the two-way protected bike lane, line striping will guide cyclists to stay in their lane, and flexible delineator posts will divide cyclists from parked vehicles
Thank you, Councilman Bobby Henon, for your continued advocacy on this issue. The Ryan Avenue bike lane is the first of many such lanes the Coalition and our partners will be advocating for moving forward.