By Sam Klugherz
We know you’ve encountered blocked bike lanes, missing flex posts, or potholes in bike lanes on Philadelphia streets, but have been frustrated by the 311 app’s lack of bicycle or pedestrian related “requests” to choose from. We have been.
In May 2018 we submitted a list of improvements to the Streets Department. Although it’s taken too long, we are pleased to report some limited progress. Our request has resulted in a few changes on the Philly 311 platform and we are continuing to ask for more.
For those unfamiliar with the government service, Philly 311 is a non-emergency hotline and online contact center available for Philadelphia citizens to report issues within the city that require attention by the city government. The service has been available for citizens to report potholes and make requests for things like sweeping and maintenance, and to report illegal dumping, graffiti, and more.
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In 2017, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) performed a “Level of Traffic Stress” (LTS) analysis of the five Pennsylvania counties in the Philadelphia region.
Using a multi-faceted set of data (road widths, shoulders, bike lanes, speed limits, etc), the LTS analysis separates every road in the region into one of four levels, from lovely local roads to nightmare highway hellscapes. More
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As reported in PlanPhilly last week, the City of Philadelphia released its RFP for dockless bike sharing, proposing regulations and licenses for private companies that want to participate in Philadelphia’s micro mobility future.
Barring any requested public hearings, the pilot could begin as soon as the fall, said Chris Puchalsky, director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives for the city’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability. The office will oversee the program along with the Streets Department.
The City will accept applications from private dockless bike sharing companies between August 1 and August 31.
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The question of how automated vehicles will factor into impacting vision zero goals of eliminating traffic deaths is a critical one.
And yesterday, at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s joint meeting of the Regional Safety Task Force and Futures Group, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia was represented by Executive Director Sarah Clark Stuart who participated on a panel to share thoughts in response to a presentation made by “Gridlock” Sam of Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants and questions posed by the City of Philadelphia Office of Transportation, Infrastructure & Sustainability Complete Streets Director Kelley Yemen.
Other participants were Megan Ryerson, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania, Roger Cohen, Senior Policy Advisory, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Steve Buckley, Planning & Environment National Director of WSP.
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On Thursday, State Sen. Larry Farnese sent a letter to the Chairpeople of the Senate Transportation Committee, calling for a vote on Senate Bill 565, which would allow for more flexibility to install protected bike lanes and pedestrian plazas along state-owned roads.
Farnese (D-Phila) is the prime sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, and has an enormous stake in making sure the citizens of Philadelphia are allowed the safest infrastructure available when bicycling, walking, or driving in the city.
“Without immediate action on this bill, PennDOT will repave our roads during the 2019 season without Pedalcycle Lanes that provide the highest quality of safety to bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers,” Farnese’s letter reads. “If we fail to act on SB 565 we risk the loss of several major bike lane projects funded for construction this year. Therefore, we must act now in order to decrease the amount of bicycle fatalities in our state, increase the safety of all individuals on our roads, and to make sure we appropriately use taxpayer dollars for future road paving projects.”
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Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed Bill 190184 into law on Wednesday, which will begin putting automated enforcement cameras along Roosevelt Boulevard.
The signing ceremony was attended by PPA Executive Director Scott Petri, Deputy Managing Director for Transportation Mike Carroll, Councilmember Cherelle Parker, 9th District, Yocasta Lora of AARP, and Latanya Byrd, Co-founder of Families for Safe Streets Greater Philadelphia, all of whom spoke about their work to make Philadelphia’s streets safer for all road users.
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Over the last several weeks, many Bicycle Coalition members and supporters have expressed support to the House and Senate Transportation Committees regarding House Bill 792 and Senate Bill 565 — bills which would give cities and towns across Pennsylvania more flexibility to install protected bike lanes on our streets — by sending emails to members of the House and Senate transportation committees.
Well, you were heard.
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The Chestnut Street bridge will close — completely — for a one-year period beginning in mid-July.
And in preparation for this closure, for the first time ever, PennDOT is working on a full-scale 3/4 mile bicycle detour that will include continuously-marked bike lanes. Check out the map below:
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Families for Safe Streets co-founder Latanya Byrd will join Mayor Jim Kenney, Councilperson Cherelle Parker, and others, as the mayor signs Bill 190184 on Wednesday, which authorizes the City of Philadelphia to install automated speed enforcement cameras on Roosevelt Boulevard.
Byrd, who helped create Families for Safe Streets Greater Philadelphia in 2018, has been advocating for safety fixes to Roosevelt Boulevard for the last several years. She worked in Harrisburg and Philadelphia to help pass legislation that will put automated speed enforcement cameras on the Boulevard, making the street safer for years to come.
Byrd felt compelled to get involved in safe streets advocacy after her niece, Samara Banks, and three of Banks’ children, Saamir, Saasean, and Saadeem, were killed while crossing Roosevelt Boulevard on foot in 2013.
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As we noted in March, several protected bike lane projects have been moving forward in Philadelphia, including on some of the most-ridden streets in the city. After a City Council Streets and Services Committee meeting last week, the following streets are primed to be updated. Philadelphia Magazine has a good summary of what’s been primed for new bike lanes, but we’ve provided some additional information and context here, including which of these streets will need the approval of Pennsylvania State Legislation to be completed. I co-wrote an op/ed for the Inquirer on Sunday, noting the importance of that legislation. Read it here.
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