Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably well aware that the Democratic National Convention is coming to Philadelphia in 2016. Already, you’ve probably read stories detailing the role former Governor Ed Rendell played in getting the convention here, what sort of food the Democrats should not eat while in town, and the places they should go.

Well, here’s something else: Given the tens of thousands of people who’ll be descending upon the city for the event, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia thinks the candidates running for mayor to should commit to certain projects in time for the DNC 2016 that will make Philadelphia’s streets safer, more lively, and will show the world that the city cares about its citizens’ and visitors’ safety.  Adding protected bike lanes and 15 miles of new bike lanes annually are part of the Better Mobility 2015 Platform.

So here are three projects that, if implemented, would help provide a more comfortable and safer ride from 30th Street to City Hall and City Hall to the Wells Fargo Center by bike.

Protected Bike Lanes on JFK/Market 

Protected bike lanes are going to be a big part of the future of street infrastructure in Philadelphia. And what better place to showcase protected lanes—proven to help protect both cyclists and drivers—than on Market Street and JFK Boulevard, right in Center City?

North side of Philadelphia's Market Street.

North side of Philadelphia’s Market Street.

There has been a long-standing proposal to create an eastbound protected bike lane on Market Street and a westbound protected bike lane on the south side of JFK Boulevard.  Center City District and the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities studied the concept in 2011 and, hey, it’s totally doable.

We think the project should be bumped up to the top of the “let’s get this done before the DNC arrives” list. We also think that the City should consider using parked cars in conjunction with bollards, which has been successfully done in other cities, like this one on Kinzie Street in Chicago.

Parked car protected bike lane on Chicago's Kinzie Street

Parked car protected bike lane on Chicago’s Kinzie Street

Alternatively, a two-way protected bike lane on Market Street, like this on Dearborne St. in Chicago, might also work:

Two-way protected bike lane (using parked cars) on Dearbourne Street in Chicago

Two-way protected bike lane (using parked cars) on Dearbourne Street in Chicago

Neighborhood Bikeways on 13th and 15th Streets

Initially conceived by the City’s Pedestrian/Bicycle Plan that proposed a north-south pair of “bicycle friendly streets” between South Street and Oregon Avenue, the Bicycle Coalition worked for a couple of years to help develop treatments for making 13th and 15th Streets in South Philly safer and more comfortable for bicyclists.

As part of our “Safe Streets, Healthy Neighborhoods” initiative, we worked through the Community Design Collaborative and multiple city agencies and civic organizations to develop a conceptual plan that proposed several possible approaches to transforming the streets into neighborhood bikeways.

What 13th and 15th could look like between South Street and Oregon Ave.

What 13th and 15th could look like between South Street and Oregon Ave.

After working in conjunction with the City’s Streets Department, Planning Commission and Water Department, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation applied for and received $250,000 in federal funding from the Transportation Alternatives Program to implement the plan.  A full write up of the plan is here. So, this project is already underway and could be implemented in time for the Convention.

New South Broad Street “Sidepath”

From Oregon Avenue, how to do you bike to the Wells Fargo Center?  The best way would be to use this proposed new “sidepath” (a sidewalk that is designed for both bicyclists and pedestrians).

One of several panels of the proposed sidepath.

One of several panels of the proposed sidepath.

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s proposal for this section involves enhancing the existing sidewalk into a sidepath and improved intersections to allow bicycles to safely get from Oregon down to the Navy Yard. Check the above link for more details.

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