Earlier this summer, the office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability started the conversation about a conceptual project called “neighborhood bikeways” in three neighborhoods: Germantown, Strawberry Mansion, and Fishtown.
But what is a Neighborhood Bikeway?
The Neighborhood Bikeway project is a conceptual planning project to identify several neighborhood streets for bikeways in West Germantown, Strawberry Mansion and Fishtown. The City team will partner with residents and community groups to gather traffic safety concerns, identify key community destinations like schools, trails, parks and recreation centers, and transit stops, and determine local streets for traffic calming and bicycle priority routes. At the conclusion of the conceptual plan, City staff will share next steps towards engineering design and construction. OTIS
So far, this project appears to be mimicking the Slow Zone planning process, giving neighbors control over the conversation. The goal of this style is to build trust with the communities. Community members are the experts in their neighborhood and this style of planning not only helps to build trust but also creates accountability for the city. We look forward to seeing more from these projects and hope the city continues to invest in neighborhood-scale approaches to bike and pedestrian safety infrastructure.
Neighbors met for the first stage of the process recently to point out areas of concern, areas with good infrastructure, and areas where they would like to see improvements. Groups of 5-8 neighbors per table along with an OTIS staffer identified these points on a map of the neighborhood. They also got to talk about what’s possible and what constraints exist.
The City is hoping to release the next stage of meeting dates this fall that would include walk and/or bike tours of each neighborhood so that community members can point out issues directly to city staff and planners. Stay tuned for more information and ways to get involved in your neighborhood.