Back in March, we told you about changed Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems’ plan to make changes to Spruce and Pine Streets which, we believe, will make the streets safer for cyclists going through Center City.
After a series of meetings, Council hearings, and advocacy on the part of cyclists and pedestrians all over Philadelphia, ordinances required by Council to begin the work on Spruce and Pine Streets were passed on Thursday, paving the way to upgrade the streets.
Spruce and Pine Streets are among the most-used bike lanes in Philadelphia and helps move thousands of people on bicycles in Philadelphia every day.
The four ordinances which passed will allow the Streets Department to move the bike lanes from the right side of the street to the left when the streets get repaved later this year.
Once that happens, the Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems will use green paint and physical infrastructure to better protect the intersections, where the vast majority of crashes on those streets have taken place.
To be clear, the ordinances introduced and passed—two authored by Councilman Mark Squilla, two authored by Councilman Kenyatta Johnson—will allow the city to move the lanes from the right side to the left side of the street. After studying this proposal, the Bicycle Coalition supports this, but understands this is not the be-all, end-all of protection for this street.
We are continuing to advocate for additional changes to the street, including changing the streets from “No Parking” to “No Stopping” to guarantee fewer interactions between motorists and people riding bicycles.
And, once the changes are made, we will continue advocating for better protection for cyclists using the streets, guaranteeing the safety and comfort of anyone who wants to use the street.
We’ve also pushed for the community and Philadelphia Parking Authority to keep the former parking meter polls on the right side of the streets, and re-purpose them into bike racks.
On June 5, City Council heard testimony from many members of Philadelphia’s bicycling community, including those who’ve been directly and indirectly affected by traffic violence on the streets. Dozens showed up in support of changing the streets, iterating their own stories of biking in Philadelphia, and asking Council to do something. You can read about the hearing here.
We don’t have an official timeline, yet, for when these streets get upgraded, but believe it will happen some time in the Fall. We will update on the blog when we get an update.