Mayor Jim Kenney made news at the 2018 Vision Zero Philadelphia Conference on Saturday morning, when he announced a new bike lane pilot project through major Center City streets.
Beginning this spring, JFK Boulevard and Market Street, in Center City, will be getting long-anticipated protected bike lanes Between 15th Street and 20th Street.
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia has long advocated for these bike lanes, noting they will not only help cyclists commute to their jobs, school, or wherever they need to go in Center City, but will also help calm traffic.
Market Street in Center City is along Philadelphia’s high-injury network, and has long needed calming. The protected bike lane will help make the street safer by slowing down motor vehicles and shortening pedestrian crossing distances across Market and JFK.
Last year, transportation advocate Peter Javsicas was killed by an out-of-control driver while walking on JFK Blvd. In response, the Bicycle Coalition and the Vision Zero Alliance set up a memorial walk and protest, calling for greater traffic calming measures on JFK Boulevard.
The Bicycle Coalition has been advocating for these lanes for a long time. We’ve put out surveys, spoken to pedestrians and drivers, led protests, met with politicians and other officials, and written about it, over and over again. JFK and Market are part of the Bicycle Coalition’s Hub and Spoke campaign, too.
So, we are very happy to hear our advocacy work has led to this. The JFK-Market bike lanes will create an easier, safer way for bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers to get through Philadelphia.
I use the Indego bikes or my own bike between 19th and Poplar and 16th and JFK for work commuting. This is great news! There are no good, safe routes from JFK heading north. 16th is hazardous, 18th is blocked and getting to 20th is tricky at best. Thank you Mayor and thank you BCGP!
Here’s hoping they keep their promises this time and don’t stuff more bike lane funds into the city general fund, or put it through the S-L-O-W process that city council wants. Unfortunately with this group, I’ll believe it only when I see it, if I’m still alive then.
This is great news and a positive development. Hearty congratulations to the BCGP and all those who worked and advocated for this project. Hopefully implementation will be as smooth as possible — this includes minimizing any inconvenience to residents or businesses along those stretches, and helping them to realize the broader benefits of this move.
All that said — why only 5 blocks? I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but what about beyond 15th & 20th streets? I suppose the idea is that this stretch statistically has seen the greatest incidence of accidents. It makes sense to address that, especially from a perspective of limited resources. On the other hand, those who bike need to be protected from automobile collisions throughout their journeys, not just several blocks of it. Moreover, there are many people who do not currently bike but would like to — but feel inhibited because of a belief (not inaccurate) that riding in the city can be difficult and/or dangerous. More protected bike lanes would go a long way towards addressing these concerns, thereby encouraging more biking, and thus better transportation and improved public health all around. It is heartening that in his remarks Mayor Kenney at least acknowledged that progress re deploying protected bike lanes has been slower than he originally said he’d work hard for. My hope is that this 5 block stretch will be a harbinger of the more extensive bike lane network that Philly has been promised and much deserves.
Kudos, BCGP! You rock.
There are so few major cities on the East Coast who even contemplate plans like this. While it may be slow, it made it to a public discussion and that is huge for me. GO PHILLY BIKE LANES!