Bicycle Coalition

Photo courtesy of Oren Eisenberg

An idea to change loading zone rules first proposed by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is being introduced as legislation in Philadelphia City Council on Thursday.

The plan, detailed here, would change the rules for creating loading zones on streets with bike lanes. Too often, delivery drivers park in bike lanes to unload their cargo on streets without loading zones.

The plan would incentivize businesses to create loading zones by waiving the $500, or $300, installation fee for business-centric loading zones, making it easier for delivery vehicles to legally park on city streets and deliver goods.

Of course, some drivers will park illegally whether or not they have a loading zone. That’s why we submitted the PPA up bike lane parking fees; increased fees may force delivery companies to comply with the law, and keep money flowing to the Philadelphia School District, as the PPA is required to do.

We think the idea makes sense. And so do others, apparently. So, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson took the first step toward making this law when he introduced legislation based on this memo on Thursday.

“Parking in bike lanes makes our streets less safe and increases traffic congestion,” said Johnson, when asked about the bill. “When bicyclists have to merge into a traffic lane to avoid a parked car, crashes are more likely and traffic starts backing up. I believe that this bill will help keep bike lanes clear by eliminating the up-front costs of establishing loading zones on streets with bike lanes. It’s just one piece of the puzzle, but it’s an important one.”

We are amped to see this legislation moving forward—and hope the Philadelphia Parking Authority follows through with increased fees for delivery vehicles that continue to park in bike lanes and other rights of way, blocking traffic, causing congestion, and putting all road users in danger.

Still, this legislation like this is not a panacea. Given the opportunity, someone will always use the bike lane to park.

The Philadelphia Inquirer recently noted that delivery companies “factor in parking violations as part of the cost of doing business, and are able to register with the PPA and be charged a monthly “invoice” for parking tickets.” The PPA needs to find a ticketing amount—much higher than the $76 it is now—that gives delivery drivers incentive to use the loading zones on Philadelphia’s streets.

For this proposal to work, businesses need to take the initiative to actually create new loading zones and delivery companies need to actually use them. We will begin looking for ways to publicize this legislation once it’s turned into law to let businesses and delivery drivers know they have options.

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