Alongside the 5th Square PAC, Deputy Managing Director Clarena Tolson, and Fairmount Bicycles owner Shelly Salamon, the Bicycle Coalition participated in a rally today at 15th and Spruce Streets encouraging the City of Philadelphia to move forward with a protected bike lane infrastructure plan as soon as possible.
Earlier this year, grants were announced for 10 new protected bike lanes throughout Philadelphia, a decision lauded by local urbanist political action committee 5th Square and alternative transportation nonprofit Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.
Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Sarah Clark Stuart noted that protected bike lanes are common sense for anyone concerned with road safety.
“When people ask me why Philadelphia should protect their bike lanes, and why the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia has called on the city to install 30 miles of protected bike lanes, I have three reasons: Safety, safety, safety,” said Stuart, noting protected bike lanes both separate bicyclists from motor vehicle traffic and provide pedestrians with a shorter, safer path across the street.
“Mayor Kenney is supportive of this notion and concept of protected bike lanes and has committed to 30 miles of them during the course of his administration,” said Tolson. “We don’t just need the bold and the athletic in the street. We need everyone who would like to ride a bike in the street.”
The event was attended by dozens of Philadelphians, many of whom added their names to a petition 5th Square had been promoting, calling on citizens to support Mayor Jim Kenney’s bike lanes.
Attendees also held up signs giving their reasons for supporting protected bike lanes in Philadelphia.
Before the event ended, David Curtis handed Clarena Tolson the more than 1,000 signatures 5th Square had collected in support of the bike lanes.
Not long after the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia proposed 30 miles of new protected bike lanes under the new Kenney Administration (alongside a promise made by Kenney in a campaign document), the city received word that funding has been approved to begin that process.
As part of the $7.6 million in Transportation Alternatives Program project money recently awarded to the region by the DVRPC, Philadelphia will receive $300,000 for “on-road improvements,” according to the DVRPC’s press release, “including flexible delineator posts, signage, and pavement markings, for cyclists at designated locations throughout the City of Philadelphia.” An additional $200,000 has also been requested from PennDOT for improvements.
The Bicycle Coalition believes this is the beginning of a series of high-quality on-street, protected bike lanes, which will make the streets safer for all road users in Philadelphia.