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Like many bike lanes around the city—especially in Center City, Philadelphia—22nd Street is still well-biked every day, but has become faded beyond recognition at some points.

Ongoing construction has additionally forced cyclists into the motor vehicle travel lane for years near Chestnut and Market Street. One way to fix this problem would be to turn 22nd Street into a protected bike lane, and, according to a look at the corridor by the Bicycle Coalition’s research director John Boyle, it’s totally doable.

Protecting 22nd Street is not a new idea. Twenty-second Street is part of the Bicycle Coalition’s “Hub and Spoke” campaign, released last year. Twenty-second Street is a major bicycling corridor, and helps people from South Philadelphia, especially the West Passyunk neighborhood, to get into Center City. It’s an important corridor.

Usually, protection can be installed when there is a 3-foot painted buffer on the street, which would not be the case here. But we believe there is enough room on 22nd Street to put in a protected bike lane without losing a lane of motor vehicle traffic (and not just with plungers).

Although there’s always Plan B

It would look like this.

 

Is there precedent for a one-foot buffer between the bike lane and motor vehicle travel lane? Yes. On the South Street Bridge, flex-posts have been installed (and regularly knocked down) without any buffer at all.

If the City installed flex-posts on 22nd Street, they would likely be sturdier than those on the South Street Bridge. The Bridge’s flex-posts are not bolted into the street, specifically because they’re on a bridge, and you can’t screw directly into a bridge.

Since 22nd Street is, well, a street, the flex-posts would potentially be much sturdier, since they’ll be put in with screws.

To be fair, the best case scenario would be to lose a lane of motor vehicle traffic on 22nd, and install a 10-foot buffered bike lane with substantial protection that would not allow motorists to pull over into the bike lane and put other peoples’ lives in danger. But this would work, too.

Randy LoBasso

Author

Randy LoBasso is the policy manager at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.