The Philadelphia Vision Zero Alliance — a group of more than 30 organizations around Philadelphia dedicated to safer streets for all Philadelphians — sent out a questionnaire to all City Council candidates, asking for their opinions on a host of issues.
The below answers are from Joe Cox, Independent running for City Council at-Large.
Philadelphia is the “most biked” big city in the United States, but lacks the high quality infrastructure necessary to make cycling accessible to people of all ages and abilities to use a bicycle to get around the City. Will you actively support installing at least 40 miles of protected bike lanes by 2025?
I most definitely support 40 miles of protected bike lanes by 2025. I would personally like one on every street. The roads are supposed to be for everyone, not just cars. I recently biked to Harrisburg to lobby with Bicycle coalition in support of a protected bike lane bill, for an expanded Vision Zero, and in honor of all lives lost due to lack of Vision Zero. Protected bike lanes make streets safer for cyclists, cars and pedestrians.
If you answered yes, what do you believe is the most effective action City Council should do to provide Philadelphians of all ages and abilities with stress-free access to walking and biking throughout the city?
We should definitely be putting more funding into vision zero! Something I believe would go a long way is plastering the four foot law and the door law throughout Philadelphia. I think it is ridiculous that most drivers don’t know this law. How can we claim to be vision zero when this is the case?! We should be making sure laws are being enforced by the police like the four foot law, the door law, parking in a curb cut, parking in bike lanes etc.
A 2012 law gives City Council, not engineers, final authority over the installation of protected bike lanes that replace a travel lane. This has led to a process that can take several years to install safe infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians, especially when compared to Philadelphia’s peer cities. As a City Councilperson, will you support rescinding this law and giving final authority back to engineers?
Yes, I will support rescinding this, I believe the city should empower the smartest and most experienced people to make these decisions. Decisions to remove travel or parking lanes should be done so with the lens of equity and safety by professionals – not politicians. Public hearings should be held by the Streets Department when considering these changes so that residents may weigh in with their thoughts and concerns.
Simple fixes like added pedestrian lead times at intersections and speed humps can make streets safer, but are difficult to request and even more difficult to enact and install. How can Council help make these, and other, safe streets processes easier and more transparent for local communities?
We should be putting more funding into vision zero to fix our deadly roads. I believe a lot of little things would go a long way. Public hearings should be held by the Streets Department when considering these changes so that residents may weigh in with their thoughts and concerns.
The City’s congestion and parking challenges are impacting the daily lives of Philadelphians and transportation is Philadelphia’s second largest contributor to carbon emissions and air pollution. Will you commit to addressing these problems by authorizing new, clean transportation options like shared electric bikes and scooters and expanding safe infrastructure for their use?
Yes, one of the top reasons I’m running for council is because of our deadly roads.
We should treat our roads as a public health crisis, because they are! There are deadly potholes all throughout Philadelphia, and we don’t even have any real bike lanes. We need to advocate much louder for the rights of everyone on the road. We need to plaster signs throughout all of Philadelphia so drivers know the law. We need to take Vision Zero far further.
We need to do everything in our power to get less cars on the road, the roads are supposed to be for everyone. We need to create safer streets and better public transportation for all.
Number one reason kids are absent from school is asthma, let’s think about the kids!
Philadelphia does not dedicate funds to maintaining its Vision Zero projects. Would you support dedicated funds in the city budget for maintaining Vision Zero projects like protected bike lanes, re-striping crosswalks and bike lanes, filling in potholes quickly, and replacing physical infrastructure like flex-posts and curbing?
To me, the current pace of Vision Zero is not acceptable, which is part of the reason why I am running. Vision zero as it stand to me is very hypocritical, it is words with very little action.
Seemingly no enforcement of motor vehicle traffic laws, especially noticeable on Spruce Street thru South Street, from 38th street to 25th street — surrounding and across the South Street bridge. Constant U-turns, despite no U-turn signs, cars parking in the bike lanes on the bridge, etc.
Many other cities are much more bike-friendly and bike-safe, with automobiles avoiding cyclists. Not Phila. Often, where traffic lanes for autos are wide, vehicles still insist on a piece of the bike lane.
Having council decide budget for streets engineers is backwards…creating more problems for the engineers as well as safer streets for pedestrians,. handicapped, elderly and bicyclists…this needs to change………..Thank you Joe….