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An example of the new kiosk and poles that are destined to be removed, rather than converted into bike racks.

The Bicycle Coalition learned yesterday that the Kenney Administration has decided not to spend a portion of the revenue it receives from the Philadelphia Parking Authority to convert 8,000 meter poles into bike racks, despite bike parking being in short supply throughout the city.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority is in the midst of replacing the remaining existing parking meters with kiosks in Center City, University City and outlying neighborhoods.

The City was engaged in conversations with the PPA to use a portion of the revenue it receives from the Authority to convert meter poles into bike racks instead of the PPA sawing off the meter poles and disposing of them.

After several months of discussion, the Administration decided to not pursue the project, leaving the PPA free to remove the poles instead of converting them. The reason: budgetary constraints.

The City converted about 1,000 poles into bike racks in 2010. The type of rack under consideration this year was an improved version of the “wheel” used a decade ago.

The cost of this conversion was estimated at $700,000, which comes to about $88 per pole.

This is a disappointing development, as bike parking in Philadelphia is scarce and frequently a deterrent to more people using bicycles for transportation.

This decision is penny wise and pound foolish as it will cost the City much more in the future to install new bicycle racks. It also runs counter to Mayor Kenney’s efforts to achieve transportation, climate and sustainability goals.

Philadelphia is a winning city of the Bloomberg Climate Cities Challenge, launched the Philadelphia Climate Collaborative and led a delegation to the international C40 World Mayor’s Summit on Climate and wants to double the mode share of people who bicycle to work

Sarah Clark Stuart

Author

Sarah’s foray into trail and bicycle advocacy began in 2004 when she became involved in the “Free Schuylkill River Park” campaign to preserve public access to the Schuylkill River Trail in Center City, now known as Schuylkill Banks. Since joining the Bicycle Coalition in 2006, she has been a key player in the Bicycle Coalition’s key accomplishments: the $23 million TIGER trail-building grant; naming and building out the Circuit; lobbying successfully for legislation mandating the inclusion of bike parking in new construction projects; Philadelphia’s Complete Streets policy; and coordinating research and analysis of several reports on bicycling in Philadelphia.

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