Advocating for better bicycle infrastructure is never easy, but the pressure is always eased when there’s a critical mass of people to defend our rights and rights of way.
That’s why everyone who showed up to last night’s Passyunk Square Civic meeting to defend the ongoing construction of the South 11th Street bike lane should be proud. You made a difference.
At last night’s meeting, those opposed to the safety project for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers were loud and often unruly — but those in favor of the project did not sink to their level.
The Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability, invited to the Passyunk Square meeting to give a presentation, did a fantastic job of keeping the meeting in order.
They did this even as audience members spoke over them, screamed, and claimed the ongoing construction project—in which a 2-way protected bike lane was replacing a standard bike lane outside parked cars, and daylit intersections—should be put back the way it was before.
OTIS’ plan makes the street safer for cyclists, pedestrians, and for drivers.
The office went above and beyond to keep as much parking as possible, while, more importantly, making the street safer for everyone. This was at least the third public meeting about this project, and outreach has been going on for eight months.
Councilman Mark Squilla has supported this project while protecting parking for his constituents. He was at the meeting last night and defended the city’s project, and, more importantly, its Vision Zero goals.
This part of South Philadelphia is the 4th-most biked neighborhood in the United States, according to the U.S. Census; it’s time residents are given safe infrastructure for commuting.
Change is hard and at times painful. Creative problem solving, such as convincing Acme to allow its lot to be used for nighttime parking (one idea tossed out by Deputy Manging Director for Transportation Michael Carroll), should help.
The City and Councilman Squilla deserve a lot of credit for conducting a ton of outreach prior to installation, going back to the community as it did last night, listening to residents who are upset, and for making a strong case for why this lane should stay.
We encourage you to send a message to the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability, and Councilman Squilla, thanking them for working on, and supporting, this project.