Members of the Bicycle Coalition staff and volunteers went room-to-room on Monday, advocating directly for increased Streets Department funds and a proposed 13-person maintenance crew to specifically fix Vision Zero infrastructure, like faded bike lanes, broken flexposts, faded and nonexistent crosswalks, and other safety devices.
In advance of the Monday meetings, the Bicycle Coalition put a call out for volunteers who could join us for those meetings and provide us with photographs of infrastructure in their districts and neighborhoods that could be improved with increased maintenance.
Many volunteers responded.
We received, and went out and got, more than 200 photos of deteriorating infrastructure all over Philadelphia. From Kensington Avenue to Overbrook High School to Columbus Boulevard to Cliveden Street, there were no shortage of examples.
We tweeted many of them out in preparation for our meetings on Monday.
District 7. Philadelphia deserves better than this. pic.twitter.com/ea1TYzkhMV
— Bike Coalition Phila (@bcgp) April 11, 2018
And there were many meetings. Our meetings included Councilpeople Gym (At Large), Parker (9), Jones (4), Squilla (1), Johnson (2), Blackwell (3), O’Neill (10), Bass (8), Taubenberger (At Large), Oh (At Large), Henon (6), and Reynolds-Brown (At Large).
The meetings were largely positive.
We provided all Councilpeople, or their staff, with 1-pagers describing some problems with Philadelphia infrastructure, and what we believe raising the paving budget and adding the 13-person maintenance crew will do to change it. In addition to information about the budgetary changes, the pages we handed out included photos provided by Bicycle Coalition volunteers and supporters.
In the case of Council districts 2 and 4, we provided the offices with actual hard drives full of photographs full of images from that district, showing the truly awful condition the district’s streets are in.
The general consensus for the paving and maintenance crew was that of support.
In the case of Councilwoman Blackwell, our group of six (between volunteers coming and going, our group of advocates was anywhere between three and 12 throughout the day) had a very positive conversation with the Councilwoman, explaining our point of view on issues where we disagree with her, and listening to her own concerns.
Only Councilman Taubenberger — who has supported Vision Zero and our push for speed cameras on Roosevelt Boulevard, where he lives — told us that although he was in support of the issues we presented to him, he did not support a tax increase and, if the final budget includes a tax increase, likely would not be voting for it.
We provided him several of our 1-pagers, though, and his response: “Someone needs to pave this!”
Generally, though, the Councilpeople we met with said they support this aspect of the final city budget, which will be debated over the coming weeks.
The Streets Department budget, specifically, will be heard on Tuesday and the Bicycle Coalition will be attending and providing information on the hearing.
A big thank you to all those who took the time out of their day to attend these meetings with us. Like any advocacy organization, we are nothing without our supporters, and your participation means a lot!
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