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From top left clockwise: Councilwoman Helen Gym, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez & Councilwoman Janney Blackwell.

This week in City Hall, City Council members took action on four important amendments and ordinances that the Bicycle Coalition believe will advance bicycling and pedestrian safety.

Tidal Schuylkill River Trail – Councilman Kenyatta Johnson submitted a proposed amendment to the FY18 Capital Program for an additional $4M to be added, bringing the total to $8M over six years.  This funding will enable waterfront improvements along the Schuylkill River.  The Schuylkill River Trail has been a huge economic development engine for Philadelphia, and voted the Best Urban Trail in the United States in 2015.  The capital investments made in improving the waterfront from the Art Museum to Southwest Philadelphia will generate significant economic benefit to the City and the Commonwealth and increase property values.

Pedestrian Walkways – Bill No. 161108 introduced by Helen Gym and co-sponsored by Council members Squilla, Green, Domb, and Blackwell had its hearing in today’s Streets & Services Committee.  Protected walkways are walkways bordered by barriers such as plastic or concrete partitions and are suitable for smaller or shorter-term construction projects that close sidewalks.  This legislation will establish protected walkways as the baseline that is always required when sidewalks are closed, unless they would be incompatible with public and traffic safety.  The bill passed out of Committee.

North American Street – Bill No. 170289 introduced by Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez also had its hearing in the Streets & Services Committee today.  The bill authorizes the Department of Streets to designate bicycle lanes, in both directions, on American Street from Jefferson Street to Lehigh Avenue and for the removal of a travel lane on American Street.  This project, funded by a federal TIGER grant, will add separated “raised” bike lanes along a street that in some places is over 100 feet wide from curb to curb.  Raised bike lanes are a type of separated bike lane that would be a first for Philadelphia.  The Bicycle Coalition has recommended that additional treatments be made to connect this project to the existing bikeway network at Girard Avenue. The bill passed out of Committee

West Chestnut Street – Bill No. 170400 was introduced by Councilwoman Janney Blackwell on April 27th.  It authorizes the Streets Department to remove a travel lane from 34th to 45th Streets and to designate a buffered bike lane.   This bill will allow the Streets Department to install a parking protected bike lane as shown and described in the Open House held on April 19th at the Enterprise Center.   This bill will be heard at the May 25th Streets & Services Committee hearing.

 

 

Sarah Clark Stuart

Author

Sarah’s foray into trail and bicycle advocacy began in 2004 when she became involved in the “Free Schuylkill River Park” campaign to preserve public access to the Schuylkill River Trail in Center City, now known as Schuylkill Banks. Since joining the Bicycle Coalition in 2006, she has been a key player in the Bicycle Coalition’s key accomplishments: the $23 million TIGER trail-building grant; naming and building out the Circuit; lobbying successfully for legislation mandating the inclusion of bike parking in new construction projects; Philadelphia’s Complete Streets policy; and coordinating research and analysis of several reports on bicycling in Philadelphia.