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5th St Tunnel

5th St Tunnel when the bike lane is enhanced with delineator posts.

The Delaware River Port Authority has confirmed with the Bicycle Coalition that they will be re-installing the 5th Street Tunnel flex posts on March 15th.

The flex posts, which were first installed in 2016, have been seasonal for the past three years, with the DRPA uninstalling the posts in November due to the potential for a snow storm and their lack of equipment which can be used to plow snow from both the vehicular and bike lane.

As a member of the DRPA Citizens Advisory Committee, I’ve advocated for these posts over several years, and want to see the “seasonal” policy changed, keeping the posts in all year long.

The Green Cities recently spoke to me about the tunnel issue and noted our four requests to the DRPA:

  • Annually install flex posts by April 1st.
  • DRPA to commit to taking the flex posts as late as possible.
  • DRPA to raise money to purchase the necessary equipment to have the bike lane plowed
  • Maintain the bike lane throughout the year

These are certainly our short-term requests. Long term, though, the posts need to be in the tunnel all year long, and maintained all year by the DRPA.

Given the high speed of traffic in the tunnel, it is imperative that the 5th Street Tunnel have hardened protected bike lanes year round. We will continue to encourage the Authority to set aside or obtain funds to build and maintain this critical connection. In the interim we hope that there will be coordination with Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability, as they work on adding delineator posts to 5th Street to make this critical link in the Philadelphia Bicycle Network safe for all ages and abilities.

Other institutions, such as Rutgers University, have a Bobcat plow that can remove snow through narrow bike lanes. There’s no reason DRPA shouldn’t also have one.

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John Boyle

Author

John has been a commuting cyclist for more than 20 years. In 1994 he began working as a volunteer for the Bicycle Coalition of the Delaware Valley after attending a volunteer night, and later served as a board member in 1997-98. In 1999 John left Philadelphia for Charlottesville, VA, where he helped establish the Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation (ACCT), a bicycle and walking advocacy group.

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