The implementation of the JFK and Market St bike lanes are technically challenging. The bike lanes are on the left side of the street and feature signalized double left turn lanes on 16th St and 20th St. These left turn signals require bicyclists to be aware of the extra conflict.
Long term, when the construction ends on the JFK bridge, we are advocating for bicycle infrastructure to help cyclists continue on JFK to 30th Street Station via a facility on the newly-widened sidewalk.
At both intersections, the bike signals are phased with the pedestrian signal.
However, at 2oth Street, you have the added inconvenience of a required lane shift to continue west on JFK Boulevard on to 30th Street Station. For this signalized intersection there are 3 Phases:
Phase 1 – A green light on 20th Street (20 seconds)
Phase 2 – A green light on JFK Boulevard with a green left turn signal and a red bike signal (10 seconds)
Phase 3 – A green light on JFK with a green bike signal and a red left turn signal (20 seconds)
We have developed this video to give you an idea of suggested turn movements for bicyclists in the JFK Bike Lane. For example, when can you transition to the right side of the roadway to go straight and what is a good strategy to turn right on to 20th St northbound.
Can’t I just take the lane?
These protected bike lanes were not built for vehicular cyclists, but if you identify yourself as one, relax. In Pennsylvania, there is no statute that requires a bicyclist to use the bike lane or a sidepath. In Philadelphia, the mandatory sidepath ordinance was struck down as part of the 2012 Complete Streets Legislation. What this means that on JFK you can legally travel in the right travel lane so you can go straight or right without transitioning from the left side. If you want to go left on 20th towards Market, you can leave the bike lane and line up in the left turn lane queue.
The future of JFK Blvd towards 30th Street.
PennDOT is about halfway through a major reconstruction of the JFK Blvd viaduct. This includes the widening of the south sidewalk to at least 21 feet wide to match the width that the Schuylkill River Development Corporation designed in 2008. There will also be a bicycle and pedestrian ramp on the north sidewalk that will descend down to 22nd St. According to oTIS, there will be significant intersection work needed at Schuylkill Ave and 30th Street and the replacement of the guardrail on the bridge over the trail and river. We are hoping that after completion of the project that we can propose an interim solution such as designating the bridge walkways as sidepaths. Anecdotally, bicycle traffic has increased on the newly widened JFK Bridge north sidewalk, even before the new bike lane was in place.