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BCGP, Families for Safe Streets and Sen. Larry Farnese meet in Harrisburg moments before vote on Senate Bill 565

After years of advocacy and an overnight haul of 1500 emails to members of the Senate Transportation Committee, Senate Bill 565 passed Committee and is headed to the full Senate, meaning we are closer than ever before to getting protected bike lanes and pedestrian plazas written into the state vehicle code.

Last night, we asked our members and supporters to take a minute to send an email to the Senate Transportation Committee, asking they vote “No” on an amendment that would have created new veto power over the installation of bike lanes in Philadelphia.

With the partnership of groups like Bike Pittsburgh and 5th Square PAC, an unprecedented 1500 people sent personalized messages to Senators in the Committee over the course of 14 hours and voiced their concerns with the amendment to the entire Senate Transportation Committee. And they heard you loud and clear.

The amendment — which would have required a written letter by an RCO, district councilperson, state senator, and state representative for a bike lane to be installed in Philadelphia — was withdrawn by State Sen. John Sabatina after the bill was brought up.

Sen. Sabatina heard and said he understood the concerns of the 1,500 Pennsylvanians who sent messages about the amendment, and we greatly appreciate his willingness to listen on this matter.

Those 1,500 emails were also a topic of conversation around the Capitol Building on Wednesday. The enormous amount of support for safe streets you all showed absolutely cannot be understated. Together, we sent a message and showed what we can do when we have to scramble.

This is the furthest the protected bike lane legislation has ever gone in Pennsylvania, and a big deal to everyone who cares about safe streets. Next, the bill will be brought up on the full Senate floor, on an as-yet undecided date. We will continue working with the bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Larry Farnese, and the House Bill sponsor, State Rep. David Maloney, to make sure it receives a quick passage.

Thank you to everyone who supported this legislation. Your efforts were incredible.

Randy LoBasso

Author

Randy LoBasso is the policy director at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

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