Earlier this week, the City of Philadelphia began construction on new bus-only lanes on JFK and Market Streets in Center City, a new pilot project meant to ease congestion on some of the the most clogged blocks of the City.
Built in the far right lanes on Market Street from 15th to 20th Streets, and JFK Boulevard between 15th and 19th Streets, the bus-only lanes will be an 18-month pilot program. Philadelphia will join many peer cities, including Washington D.C. and Minneapolis, which have begun testing dedicated bus lanes within the last several years.
These lanes have been shown to make the bus a more attractive option, as the dedicated lane allows public transportation to bypass the congestion created by users of private transportation.
As cyclists who use this route know, there are already parking-protected bike lanes in the far left lanes of JFK and Market Streets in Center City. Those won’t change and you can continue using them as you did before.
We are excited to see the City moving forward with this new pilot program and prioritizing public transit on some of the busiest streets in Philadelphia.
Dedicated bus lanes, according to studies, “significantly improve the performance of bus services while encouraging mode switch from private cars to Public Transport (PT), reduce travel times and relieve urban congestion.”
Additionally, according to Curbed, bus lanes installed in peer cities “have boosted frequency, ridership, and reliability—and they cost next to nothing.” We will be keeping an eye on the progress of these lanes and hope to see this sort of infrastructure expanded well beyond Center City in the near future.