Over the past 6 months, the Bicycle Coalition has led a coalition of 10 organizations and drafted the 2023 Better Mobility Platform for mayoral candidates. We are in process of connecting with campaigns now but we wanted to start the conversation about mobility and our vision for Philadelphia. Previous platforms have led to the creation of Vision Zero PHL and helped set real goals around bike lanes and Vision Zero funding. This platform will be the subject of the 2023 Better Mobility Mayoral Forum that is scheduled for Friday, March 31st at 4pm at Temple University. Register here.
Everyone who calls Philadelphia home deserves a city that is connected, safe, and built for everyone regardless of income, race, age, or ability.
But what does it mean to be connected? By living in a metropolitan area, you should be able to get to a grocery store, local business, primary and secondary schools, transit hubs serving work centers and universities, recreation centers, or your place of worship safely within 15 minutes. You should have a safe route to school and have the opportunity to choose whether or not you want to drive, walk, ride a bicycle, or take public transportation. Our physical environment has the opportunity to bring us together, but too often divides us.
This opportunity needs to be equitable. Neighborhoods made up of the highest income earners shouldn’t be the only place you can walk or ride a bicycle to work. Every neighborhood regardless of income deserves basic quality of life services like safe roads and sidewalks, access to a high quality bike network, efficient public transportation, and safe public spaces. With proper investment in accessibility, lighting, and ongoing maintenance, these spaces lead to a reduction in crime and increase comfort and a sense of community.
And what does it mean to be safe? In 2022, 125 Philadelphians were killed in motor vehicle crashes. Philadelphia’s per capita traffic fatality rate is higher than Chicago, Washington DC and New York City. And fatal and serious injury crashes are three times more likely to occur in areas of the city where most residents are living on low incomes and 30% more likely to occur in areas of the city where most residents are people of color. Eliminating traffic deaths will meaningfully benefit communities of color and low income that currently bear the burden of this epidemic both in terms of improved safe streets and concurrent crime reduction. We envision Philadelphia as a city where traffic deaths are a thing of the past and unacceptable ever in the future.
In 2020, Philadelphia adopted an Age Friendly, Livable City for All Communities Action Plan that encompasses many transportation issues that are important especially for multi-generational households. The next mayor should use that Plan and this platform to guide its policies.
Goals for the next mayor
We propose four high level goals for the next mayor around this vision. We hope that candidates not only use these suggestions during their campaigns, but take the necessary steps to see them through once in office. We hope the next mayor adopts these goals to guide its administration’s policies and legislative initiatives:
- Reduce annual traffic deaths in half by 2026
- Motivate 1 out of every 2 Philadelphians to bike, walk, or take transit to work
- Reimagine and redesign streets to prioritize human life, public health, and community
- Provide every resident with access to safe streets and sidewalks to get to school or work, to play, and to enjoy Philadelphia and its great neighborhoods
To meet the four goals outlined above, The Philadelphia Mobility Platform for 2023 offers the following six recommendations, each described in more detail in the the full platform:
- Prioritize Safe Streets
- Commit to the Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic deaths
- Build a connected network of protected bike lanes and Circuit Trails
- Enable a City Connected By Transit
- Expand Micro-mobility
- Enliven Philadelphia’s streets
The 2023 Better Mobility Coalition includes AARP PA, Transit Forward Philadelphia, East Coast Greenway Alliance, Street Box PHL, Parks & Rec Heroes Fund, Fairmount Park Conservancy, Clean Air Council, Feet First Philly, and 5th Square.