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The Bicycle Coalition and our funders are very pleased to finally announce our proposal for a bicycle traffic park has received a grant from the William Penn Foundation!

The Lil’ Philly Safety Village, a bicycle park where children and adults can learn how to better navigate city streets and infrastructure, is the recipient of a Play Everywhere Philly Challenge grant — and we hope to see the new traffic park constructed in Hunting Park in North Philadelphia by Spring 2021.

PlanPhilly wrote up the Lil’ Philly Safety Village, and the 15 other recipients of the Kaboom! Play Everywhere Philly Challenge grant — which dedicated $1 million. Read it here.

One of the first Play Everywhere projects in Philly will be a traffic park, a place where children and adults can safely learn how to ride bikes and the rules of the road.

 

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, which created the project, wants to open it in North Philly’s Hunting Park on May 21 —  National Bike to Work Day.

 

“This would be the first of its kind in the region, and so we thought it would be really a great thing for us to shoot for,” said Stephanie Fenniri, BCGP’s deputy director.

 

Hunting Park residents, who are mostly Latino and Black, are statistically more likely to struggle with health problems and adults are more likely to live sedentary lifestyles, according to city public health data.

 

The neighborhood itself struggles with outdated road infrastructure that has contributed to dangerous traffic conditions. Several main thoroughfares are in the city’s Vision Zero High Injury Network, the 12% of Philadelphia streets responsible for 50% of all traffic deaths and severe injuries.

 

Fenniri said lower-income Philadelphians, especially those living in areas like Hunting Park shaped by discriminatory lending and planning, have a hard time finding places to learn street safety. The “Lil’ Philly Safety Village” wants to change that with a kid-sized, colorful park with roads, traffic lights, intersections, pedestrian crossings and bike lanes.

 

“With the pandemic, we found that there’s a huge bike boom, and that people are using bikes more than ever in order to get to work and also for recreational purposes,” Fenniri said. “It’s a great way to get outside, to stretch your legs, and it has a huge mental health benefit. And we’re hoping that we can encourage it not only for people to get out onto trails and all the roads during this time, but that we’re able to also pass this gift on to future generations.”

This idea for a traffic park came, in part, from Bicycle Coalition Executive Director’s visit to Copenhagen, where she saw traffic parks for kids and adults, where folks could practice riding and better understand infrastructure, street design, signage, and markings.

Read more about the project here.

Special thanks to the William Penn Foundation, who is funding this project. We are very excited to see our vision — and those of organizations all over Philadelphia — come to fruition, and make the City a better place for children and families everywhere.

Randy LoBasso

Author

Randy LoBasso is the policy director at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

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