The reactions were mixed yesterday when I posted two photos of new flexible delineator posts on the Walnut Street Bridge to Twitter, then Facebook. Reactions ranged from This is the best to This is the worst and everything in between. (A common in-between reaction: “We’re getting there.”)
Delineator posts are plastic posts stuck in the ground between, in this case, the bike lane and the motor vehicle lane. They put a visible barrier between cars and bicyclists, adding a visual aid for drivers who may otherwise drift into the space for people on bikes.
Generally speaking, the Bicycle Coalition supports these new improvements, and will advocate for more, and better, infrastructure like it. The city has planned, for instance, actual protected bike lanes in Northeast Philadelphia later this year.
These current posts on the Walnut Street Bridge are similar to posts recently installed at a problem intersection at Baltimore and Springfield in West Philadelphia. According to Gus Scheerbaum, Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Engineer at the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, these posts were installed as a safety improvement in coordination with PennDOT, via an Automated Red Light Enforcement (ARLE) grant.
“Flexible delineator were installed using City ARLE safety improvement funds in coordination with PennDOT. The posts were placed to help motorists and bicyclists better identify the cross-over area where cars move into the left turn lane for the I-76 ramp,” said Scheerbaum, when contacted by the Bicycle Coalition.
In other words, this is your Philly red light camera violations money at work. Scheerbaum notes the posts are also meant to help calm traffic on the bridge, and noted there’s always a chance it could see changes. “Since this is a new type of treatment, there may be slight modifications to the current layout of the posts,” he added.
Well, a step in the right direction for bike safety, although they look bad, are rarely maintained, and just add more visual clutter.