With the momentum gained in the 2000s, the Bicycle Coalition has forged ahead the past 7 years to achieve great milestones for the biking community. Finally recognized as a major player in city transportation, biking has increased by 260% between 2005 and 2013 thanks to the efforts of the Coalition and the support from the city’s ever-expanding biking community.
Increased ridership has helped label Philadelphia as an “urban outdoor oasis,” according to a New York Times article that placed Philadelphia as the 3rd best place to go in 2015.
The 2010s have so far seen an explosion of bike interest throughout the city and the surrounding ‘burbs, backed by the creation of several Coalition initiatives dedicated to the under served community, like Women Bike PHL and Cadence Youth Cycling, as well as the expansion of the city’s Circuit Trail network. And Philadelphia now has more bike commuters than any other big city in the country (2.2 percent in 2015).
This week, we’re offering you a choice of premiums when you sign up to be a member of the Bicycle Coalition and/or give a tax-deductible gift: A t-shirt, or a pair of socks!
In 2012, the Coalition collaborated with several other non-profit organizations and agencies to found The Circuit Coalition, an effort to complete a connected network of trails winding through the Greater Philadelphia area. By connecting the current trail systems into one continuous path, the initiative envisions 750 miles of uninterrupted trail for cyclists and pedestrian, connecting the surrounding suburban and rural areas to a trail network unlike any other in the country.
2012 also saw new buffered bike lanes installed on 10th and 13th streets. The Coalition also ended an 8 year battle with Bucks and Mercer County to include a bike and pedestrian facility between two canal towpaths.
The Coalition took great strides in 2013 with the implementation of two key education and advocacy initiatives, as well as a frenzy of new bike lanes. The Women Bike PHL campaign began in March, and now with over 3,000 members, the initiative is a major player in organizing and mobilizing women throughout the city.
The Cadence Cycling Foundation merged with the Coalition that same year, allowing it to greatly increase its educational impact among the city’s under served youth. It would later be renamed Cadence Youth Cycling.
‘New bike lane month’ in June of 2013 saw bike lanes installed at Fairmount Avenue, and the opening of the 58th St. Greenway. The Penn Street Trail running along Delaware Avenue also brought the city its first cycle track.
2015 was a big year for the Coalition, too, with the reopening of the Manayunk Bridge, and a partnership with Indego Bike Share to bring bike sharing to neighborhoods outside Center City. Oh, did we mention Philly got a bike sharing program in 2015? Yeah, that happened.
Efforts also began to radically impact the safety of Philly’s streets with the Better Mobility Philadelphia 2015 Mayoral Forum, a collaborative effort by the Coalition and other like-minded organizations to get the mayoral candidates on record about safe streets and Vision Zero. All candidates came to the forum. One of the major issues at the forum and in subsequent reports: Philadelphia needs to hire a Complete Streets Director and create a Complete Streets office.
The Coalition led the charge to bring Vision Zero to Philadelphia, and along with it, the enormous task of eliminating all traffic related deaths by 2030. The first Vision Zero conference was held in December 2015, where attendees heard from panelists from all over the country. Throughout our Vision Zero campaign, we have partnered with AAA and other organizations who have a stake in making streets safer for everyone.
Throughout 2016, The Circuit Trail expanded by 11.5 miles with a $19 million grant, and Philly saw its first parking protected bike lane on Ryan Avenue, and a bollard-protected lane on Frankford Avenue as part of Vision Zero’s efforts to create safe, multi-modal streets.
More bike infrastructure was completed with bike and pedestrian paths opened on Sullivan’s bridge in Valley Forge, and Pencoyd Bridge along the Schuylkill River.
The efforts of the Better Mobility Platform were not wasted: the Kenney administration hired a Complete Streets Director in late 2016, issued a Vision Zero Executive Order that created a Vision Zero Task Force.
A second Vision Zero conference focused on automated enforcement was held in 2016, and the third and most recent conference was held in early March 2017.
Speakers ranged from city officials to concerned mothers, and crossing guards to engineers for a comprehensive discussion keeping Vision Zero’s goal in mind: eliminate all traffic deaths and serious injuries in road users by 2030.
Remember, this is the last week of the Bicycle Coalition’s March Member Drive. Give a gift this week and receive either an “I Bike PHL” t-shirt or a pair of Bicycle Coalition socks. All gifts to the Bicycle Coalition are tax-deductible and are currently being matched by a generous donor. Give today.