As the year closes, we’re highlighting what we accomplished thanks to our members and volunteers. We’ll be publishing a blog each day covering the successes enabled by our members’ and partners’ investment in us. Read all our highlights here.
Spruce and Pine Changes
After years of conflicts about improving the highly-used bike lanes along Spruce and Pine Streets in Center City, the City finally unveiled plans for those streets at a series of public meetings.
The first meeting opened with a human-protected bike lane along Spruce Street for cyclists to show support for safer, better infrastructure, and proceeded with a well-organized, informative meeting.
The biggest proposed change to Spruce and Pine was a planned switch of the bike lane from the right to the left.
We support this particular change because, as shown in these series of researched points, left-side bike lanes provide better vision for drivers and could result in fewer angle crashes — which happen to be the most prevalent crashes on these particular streets. But the other proposed change, which we believe is more important than the switch, is physical protection at the intersections.
Those changes were approved later, in April, for between 2nd and 22nd Streets. 2019 will prove whether or not those changes — half measures, considering what needs to be done to make these streets safer, long term — make a difference.
New Program to Assist Families With Bicycling Gear
Members of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia gathered at Southwark School in South Philadelphia for Equipando Familias en Bicicleta, a new family bicycling rental program funded by PECO.
The program is meant to help families who want to ride together in a safe, and fun way.
“The program helps moms and dads who are in need of assistance for bicycle equipment,” says Brenda Hernandez-Torres, the Bicycle Coalition’s Community Engagement and Partnership Coordinator. “The program will also have workshops and bike rides for families.”
Items such as bicycle seats for children, bike trailers and tagalong bikes have been provided throughout the year.
American Street Construction Begins
Work on the North American Streetscape Project, which includes roadway resurfacing, line striping and bike lanes, began in Spring 2018.
The project, once complete, will go from Girard to Indiana Streets. In addition to new protected bike lanes, the project includes the removal of unused trolley track infrastructure and the installation of ADA ramps.
Most of the corridor will feature raised bike lanes along the center of the street, though in the north section, between Huntingdon and Indiana Streets, the bike lane will be on the right side of traffic to make way for motor vehicle parking in the center.
The project is being funded by a TIGER grant and has been planned over several years.
While the project itself is a welcome improvement for this section of North Philadelphia and North Philadelphia, the plans are not without their flaws.
Center bike lanes, though protected, are not as efficient for getting cyclists through as protected lanes against the curb would have been. This is something we, and many advocates and volunteers, brought up at 2016 meetings at the Crane Arts Building on North American Street.
In April, our supporters helped us organize a pastry scavenger ride in memory of Emily Fredricks, the pastry chef who was killed riding her bike on Spruce Street on November 28th, 2017.
Dubbed ‘the Profiteroll’ by Cake Life’s Nima Entemadi, the self guided ride covered a baker’s dozen of pastry stations throughout the city including Hungry Pigeon, Parc,
The Tasty, Philly Style Bagels, Day by Day, and Vetri Cucina. We had over 75 cyclists register for the ride which ended with a post ride celebration at Johnny Brenda’s
A tribute brunch was held the following week at Le Cheri, the Rittenhouse Square restaurant owned by chef Pierre Calmels where Emily worked.
All in all, our supporters engaged over 20 chefs and restaurants and raised over $10,000 in memory of Emily.
Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling Youth Fun Day
Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling — formerly Cadence Youth Cycling — is the Bicycle Coalition’s youth cycling program, fostering healthy habits and leadership among youth throughout Philadelphia. This year, we had more youth participate than ever before. And early this spring, our athletes competed in a scavenger hunt-style alley cat ride through Fairmount Park in April.
Each team had one hour to gear up and plan their route, then three hours to travel to each location on the hunt and complete a task.
The race ended with awards and a lunch party at Lemon Hill catered by team sponsor District Taco.
SUCCESS: Philadelphia Announces Sideguards on Trash Trucks
The City of Philadelphia announced it will begin requiring all new trash hauling trucks to undergo a series of safety improvements, including the installation of side guards.
As noted in a city press release:
Each new trash compactor truck purchased will be outfitted with four 360-degree cameras that provide truck operators a complete view of the area surrounding the vehicle while moving forward. When the truck is in reverse, the camera will project the area behind the truck. Similarly, putting on either turn signal will turn on the camera to show the side of the truck.
“Our goal is to fully modernize the trash compactor fleet — with these added safety features — in the next four to five years,” said Michael Carroll, Deputy Managing Director for the Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems. “Improvements to the compactor fleet will enable more trash and recycling to be picked up on time, enabling a cleaner Philadelphia.”
The Streets Department’s decision to require side guards on all their trucks moving forward didn’t come as a big surprise.
On December 1, 2017, just days after Philadelphia pastry chef Emily Fredricks was killed by the driver of a private trash hauler on Spruce Street in Center City, the Bicycle Coalition made seven safety demands we wanted to see enacted immediately. Among them: Side guards on all large public and private trucks in Philadelphia.
“Side guards are vehicle-based safety devices that physically cover the exposed space between front and rear wheels and keep pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists from being run over by a large truck’s rear wheels in a side-impact collision,” we wrote. “Chicago, Boston and New York City have adopted ordinances requiring the use of side guards.”
Through advocacy and education, the Bicycle Coalition leads the movement to make bicycling a safe and fun way to get around for anyone in Greater Philadelphia. We’re a member-funded organization, and we can’t advocate for building out the region’s bicycle network without your support. Join or donate today to partner with us and make your ride better.