After over two years of persistent advocacy, the Eakins Oval bike lane in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art is finally protected with a “new to Philadelphia” bike lane separator: the K71.
Infrastructure progress is not easy to come by in Philadelphia.
We began the Eakins Oval advocacy campaign in 2019 when the pavement marking plans for the Oval were being developed by oTIS and PennDOT. At that time, we asked for all of the bike lanes to be protected. But when PennDOT installed the pavement markings, only a limited number of the bike lanes ended up receiving any flex posts, and nothing was placed in front of the Art Museum steps. So we demanded an explanation and solution through meetings with the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability, the Streets Department and Parks and Recreation.
The issue at this point became finding a post that was both aesthetically pleasing and maintainable while also being able to handle the frequent contact with traffic that was likely to occur. Ultimately, the K71 was agreed upon, but needed approval from PennDOT. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed decision-making for a year. Then procurement added even more time to the process.
In the meantime, the bike lane became the Mr. Softee and ride share drivers’ parking spot of choice. After 74 year old experienced bicyclist and Bicycle Coalition member Heather Peters was killed while bicycling on Eakins Oval in April 2021, we called on Mayor Kenney to make Eakins Oval safe and posted this video about the PMA bike lane. We also made safety the top issue that we asked potential designers to address as they competed to win the opportunity to develop a conceptual re-design of the Ben Franklin Parkway and Eakins Oval. Design Workshop ultimately won that competition and you can see their concept here.
We are relieved to see these lane separators finally installed to protect the bike lane in front of the Art Museum, and we want to see them replace flex posts throughout all of Philadelphia’s bicycle network.