The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia has long been dedicated to getting rid of unused trolley track around many city corridors. Many of those tracks are from the old Route 23 trolley, which was suspended in 1992!
Talk to a handful of cyclists, and you’ll probably hear at least a few stories about getting road bike tires caught in the tracks, and potentially, a crash. This came to a head for our organization in December 2013, when former Bicycle Coalition staffer and Women Bike PHL co-founder Katie Monroe caught her tire in the tracks at 11th and Reed Streets in South Philadelphia, fell, and broke her jaw in three places.
We began meeting with the Streets Department and SEPTA after that, to find a way to avoid these needless incidents going forward. The plan focused on 24 intersections between South Philadelphia and Chestnut Hill, where the old Route 23 trolley used to take passengers.
Last summer, we checked on those 24 intersections, finding most of them – but not all – to be completed. Since that time, many more have been removed or paved over, and, what’s being considered a serious moral and advocacy victory for Monroe, the 11th and Reed tracks are being removed – right now.
“Today, the tracks at 11th and Reed are getting REMOVED at last, making this intersection safer for ALL road users (not just cyclists – I’ve seen old ladies struggling across them with their grocery carts on the way to the Acme, too),” Monroe wrote on Facebook earlier today. “I have DREAMED about this day so much and I’m incredibly proud and grateful to all who made it happen.”
Over at the Streets Department, this work could not have happened if it weren’t for Bike/Ped Coordinator Jeannette Brugger and Streets’ Chief Engineer Stephen Lorenz.