The Philadelphia Parking Authority recently provided its latest numbers for people who drive motor vehicles violating the law by parking in bike lanes to the Bicycle Coalition.
The good news: Ticketing motor vehicles in bike lanes has gone way, way up since 2014.
The bad news: Well, tickets don’t really seem to be deterring frequent scofflaws, especially on Philly’s most-biked routes.
According to the latest numbers, the PPA and Philadelphia Police Department wrote a combined 4,524 tickets for violations concerning bike lanes in 2016, the most ever.
That number is up from 4,302 tickets written throughout 2015, a 5 percent increase.
And it’s up from 1,991 tickets written in 2014—a whopping 127 percent increase in tickets between 2014 and 2016.
As we’ve laid out on this blog before, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia began meeting with the Philadelphia Parking Authority in 2013 and 2014. At that time, we came up with an online campaign called #UnblockBikeLanes, in which cyclists would take pictures of vehicles illegally parked in bike lanes, and put them on Twitter with the address of the violation to give the PPA and PPD a better understand of where people are violating the law, and where to ticket.
Not surprisingly, the plurality of people tweeting at the PPA were doing so from Spruce and Pine Streets in Center City.
So, also not surprisingly, that’s where the plurality — and now majority — of tickets were written for vehicles parked in bike lanes took place.
Those numbers for previous years have been reported on by the Bicycle Coalition in past blog posts. But it’s worth discussing how out of hand parking in bike lanes has gotten over the last seven years on Spruce and Pine, which are the best routes through Center City, Philadelphia, and used by virtually all people bicycling through the city’s most dense area. We recently made a video about it:
Here are the numbers:
1,802 tickets were written for violators on Spruce Street in Center City in 2016. And 1,408 tickets were written for vehicles on Pine Street in Center City, between the 200 and 2100 blocks.
That means 70 percent of all tickets written for people parked in bike lanes were on Spruce and Pine Streets!
We’re happy to report that the PPA has stepped up its ticketing efforts for scofflaw parkers since our constructive meetings. And it’s great to see that our supporters’ and critics’ efforts have led to more ticketing in the city’s problem areas.
Other areas where ticketing is up: 13th Street, 25th and Fairmount, South Street east of Grays Ferry, and Lombard Street.
But Spruce and Pine are absolutely out of control. These streets are supposed to be the best routes for cyclists getting through Center City. But given a lack of physical separation between the motor vehicle lane and the bike lane, people in motor vehicles seem intent on parking wherever they please, putting cyclists’ lives in danger on an hourly basis. The PPA’s efforts are great. But ticketing is not the answer to this obvious problem. Creating a safe, non-intrusive space for cyclists, is.
The raw data provided by the PPA is available below: