Hub and Spoke

The Hub and Spoke campaign was developed by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia to increase public understanding and support for new infrastructure that would attract new bicyclists and contribute to traffic-calming in areas plagued by crashes that cause fatalities and severe injuries.

This campaign aims to articulate the need for implementing high quality bicycle infrastructure on a series of roads and corridors* over the next 5-7 years (during the Kenney Administration) in order to triple the percentage of people who use their bicycle to commute to work (up to 6 percent, citywide) and improve safety in key neighborhoods that disproportionally suffer from crashes that lead to fatalities and severe injuries.

Implementation

Philadelphia can do this not only by creating a better bicycle network around Greater Center City that allows easy access into the city’s central business hub, but by ensuring that every planned bike lane is as “high-quality” as possible.

What’s that mean?

Every street on this network should separate bicyclists from motor vehicles either by a buffer, physical barrier, a parking lane or be an off-road trail. That should not only decrease the number of crashes that lead to traffic deaths and injuries, but also encourage more bicycle ridership overall. That would create a situation where more people feel comfortable riding bicycles, because it’s safer to ride, and there are more cyclists on the streets.

All of these bike lanes and trails are in the City’s current Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan (2015 Progress Report) and Trails Master Plan (2017 Update.)  The trails are part of the Circuit Trails.

In fact, most of these bike lanes were mapped by the Bicycle Coalition as part of its recent Bike Lane Toolkit campaign, during which we brought neighborhood residents to meet with their representatives and discuss which neighborhood corridors they wanted to see more and better infrastructure.

But just because a lane or trail is in an approved Master Plan does not mean its future is guaranteed.

New, high-quality infrastructure needs the support of City Council and the Kenney Administration for funding and implementation.

Getting to 6 Percent

The City’s 2010 Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan set out to reach 6.5 percent bicycle commuting mode share by 2020. That figure is only at 2.2 percent, as of 2015.

In order for Philadelphia to reach this goal and triple the number of people who use their bicycle as their primary mode of transportation, it will need to upgrade its bicycle infrastructure to better accommodate those who don’t bike because of their fear of riding in traffic.

If the number of people bicycling to work in Center City doubled and the number in Lower North, West Philly and South Philly grew by 50 percent, that would double the figure to 4 percent.

If the outlying neighborhoods together doubled, the City would reach 6 percent citywide. This is why we propose a “Hub and Spoke” network of high quality bike lanes and trail segments to reach that 6 percent goal within the confines of the Kenney Administration.

More Cyclists, Better Infrastructure, Safer Streets

An analysis of fatal and severe injury crashes by Azavea found that those crashes (over a five year period) concentrated in three areas of the City: Fairhill/Feltonville; Center City and far West Philadelphia.

The Hub and Spoke proposal for high quality bicycle facilities addresses both the issue of increasing the number of people who bike and reaching toward Vision Zero through traffic calming strategies via a network of high quality bike lanes and Circuit trails.

*These identified corridors and trails are not the only projects that will contribute to greater ridership or more traffic calming; but they are the ones to focus upon to ensure their successful accomplishment over the next 5-7 years.  Our support and advocacy for all Philadelphia bike lane and trail projects will continue unabated.

The Hub

Spring Garden Greenway

Image credit: Pennsylvania Environmental Council

The proposed plan is to build a two-way protected bike lane along the median of Spring Garden Street. The lead agency of this Circuit project is the Philadelphia Streets Department and the Managing Director’s office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems (oTiS). The northern section of the ‘hub’ will stretch the entire length between Eakins Oval and Delaware Avenue.  

The project has undergone a preliminary feasibility study, and it is currently undergoing an internal review by the Streets Department. Once that review is completed, an engineering study will be conducted. That study is funded by two grants totaling $800,000 received from PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Regional Trail Fund, and additional funding from the Philadelphia Water Department.

Next Step: The Streets Department is expected to put out a “request for proposals” to hire a consultant to conduct the engineering study sometime in 2017.  When the Streets Department internal review is completed, it will release a RFP for engineering study.

Washington Avenue

The southern stretch of the Hub plan envisions a high quality bike lane (either buffered or physically protected) along the entire length of Washington Avenue from Columbus Boulevard to 24th Street.

The street currently does not afford enough safety to cyclists and pedestrians; 327 crashes occurred along that corridor between 2010 and 2014, killing four people. There is a gap in bike lanes, and many of the current lanes are faded. The Bicycle Coalition has been advocating for the past four years for the City to find a new configuration of the street that would improve safety and meet the community’s needs—of which there are many.

Still six public meetings and a petition drive later, no changes have been made except for one side of the bike lanes were restriped in late 2015. In order for Washington Avenue to be an effective part of the Hub and Spoke network, the bike lanes need to be enhanced and the bike lane needs to be connected across the entire corridor, filling in the gap between 7th and 11th Streets.

A 2014 proposal (based on community input and a feasibility study conducted by the City of Philadelphia Planning Commission during 2013) divided the corridor into six sections, each with different configurations that would have provided shorter crossing distances and bike lanes. This proposal received mixed reviews from residents and businesses along the corridor.

In September 2015, representatives at the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, Streets Department and the Planning Commission held a public meeting to address these issues, and solicited ideas for a new action plan moving forward.

Unfortunately, little progress was made after the 2015 public meeting and during 2016.  A redesign proposal will need approval by Councilmen Mark Squilla and Kenyatta Johnson and new grant funding that the City will have to solicit from state or federal sources.

Next Step: City proposes a street design configuration and seeks funding. 

Delaware River Trail

Delaware River Trail

Image credit: Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia

The eastern edge of the Hub is the Circuit’s Delaware River Trail, which runs from Spring Garden Street to the Pier 70 shopping center in South Philadelphia (and will eventually extend north to Allegheny Avenue and south to Oregon Avenue).

The trail between Pier 70 and Spring Garden Street (first proposed in the 2011 Master Plan for the Central Delaware) is being designed and built in two sections: 1) an upgrade to the existing interim trail between Washington Avenue and Pier 70 Boulevard and 2) a new multi-use sidepath along the eastern side of Columbus Boulevard between Washington Avenue and Spring Garden Street that will provide separate bicycle and pedestrian paths and a landscape buffer from vehicular traffic. The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation is overseeing each of these projects.

Next Step: Design is complete for the first section, but some Right of Way that is under private ownership remains to be acquired before construction can begin. The sidepath between Washington Avenue and Spring Garden is currently in final design and DRWC is seeking funding for construction. 

Christian to Crescent Connector

Christian to Crescent Connector

In order to complete the western section of the hub, which is part of the Circuit, the Schuylkill River Trail segment between Christian Street and the Gray’s Ferry Crescent needs to be designed, funded and constructed.  The Schuylkill River Development Corporation and the Department of Parks and Recreation are working to design and build the Christian to Crescent Connector to close the gap that works around the Veolia power plant. This section will be the final puzzle piece that completes a seamless section of the Schuylkill River Trail from East Falls to Bartram’s Garden.  This remaining gap is undergoing a final conceptual study.  Because of the need to maintain access to Veolia’s dock cable, a supported structure to clear the dock facilities and limit impacts to the 100 Year Flood will need to be designed.

Next Step: SRDC secures funding to complete preliminary design.

The Spokes

Market Street/JFK Boulevard

West Market/JFK Boulevard

Image credit: Center City District

West JFK and Market Streets between 15th and 20th Streets are wider than I-95.  This makes for a roadway that serves no one well and is clearly not safe for vulnerable users such as pedestrians and bicyclists. One technique to calm traffic and “right size” West Market Street and JFK Boulevard would be to replace a travel lane on each corridor with a separated bike lane. The idea of high quality bike lanes on these two roads has been proposed and studied by both Center City District and the former Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities since 2010. The current incarnation of the proposal is to build parking-protected bike lanes between 15th St and 20th St.   

The conceptual design for such lanes has been prepared by Center City District. The project needs support from Council President Darrell Clarke before grant funding can be sought for final design and construction.  

A huge benefit of these lanes is that they would calm traffic in one of the three areas of the City that that had the most fatal and severe injury crashes between 2010-2014. These pairs of bike lanes were brought up and discussed when the Bicycle Coalition, members, and supporters, met with Council President Darrell Clarke’s staff during our initial Bike Lane Toolkit campaign.

Next Step: Secure support from Council President Clarke for funding to construct traffic calming measures.

22nd Street

22nd Street

Two small sections of the 22nd Street bike lane need to be added to help with the Hub & Spoke concept. The full lane needs to be upgraded from a 5 foot standard lane into a better protected lane; but in the mean time, closing the gap between Race Street & the Parkway and Spring Garden and Fairmount Avenue would increase connectivity and provide more safety for the entire corridor.

Next Step: Secure Council President Clarke’s support for extending the 22nd Street bike lane and filling the gap.

West Chestnut Street from 22nd to 45th Streets

West Chestnut Street from 45th to 22nd Streets

With grant funding in hand and support from Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, the Streets Department and oTis are moving forward on a left hand parking protected bike lane between 45th and 34th Streets.  The bike lane will be extended eastward to 22nd Street by PennDOT when it rehabs the Chestnut Street Bridge.  The schedule for each of these two phases of this project is pending funding schedules.  

Next Step: Councilwoman Blackwell introduces legislation and it is adopted to allow the parking protected bike lane to go forward.

West Chestnut from 45th to 63rd Streets

West Chestnut from 45th to 63rd Streets

The parking protected bike lane will not be extended westward from 45th to 63rd Street in the near term.  Given that far West Chestnut is one of the three areas of the City that had the most fatal and severe injury crashes between 2010-2014, extending a parking protected bike lane to 63rd Street is of paramount importance.

Next Step: Secure funding and support from Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell for extending a parking protected bike lane from 45th to 63rd Streets.

13th and 15th Neighborhood Bikeways

13th & 15th Neighborhood Bikeways

Image credit: Toole Design, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia

The concept for this pair of streets to receive signage and “super” sharrows as treatments to encourage the use of these two streets as neighborhood bikeways was developed by the Bicycle Coalition, Toole Design Group and the Streets Department in 2011 through a Community Design Collaborative grant. In 2014, the City received a Transportation Alternatives Grant of $250,000 to design and install the treatments on both streets from Market Streets to Oregon Avenue.

Next Step: The City will install signage and conduct bicycle and vehicle counts in 2017 to see if signage alone has any impact in attracting bicyclists to the two streets and calming vehicular traffic.  Our understanding is that after the counts, the super sharrows will be installed, either in 2017 or 2018. 

East Market Street

East Market Street

Image credit: NV5

Old City District’s neighborhood plan, Vision 2026, prioritizes walking, biking, public transit, and commercial loading. The plan includes a concept to reconfigure Market Street from 6th to 2nd Street with parking protected bike lanes.  These would enhance the connection from the bike lanes on 5th and 6th Streets and encourage more bicycling to this popular historic and commercial corridor.

Next Step: Old City District concludes a traffic study of the concept, reaches agreement with the Streets Department on conceptual design, and they identify funding for engineering.

Delaware River Trail (North of Spring Garden)

Leading northward from Spring Garden to the Bucks County line, the Delaware Trail is being pieced together section by section by various entities, including the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC), the Delaware River City Corporation (DRCC), PennDOT and the Streets Department. DRWC is working to build the section that would  north from Spring Garden Street, behind SugarHouse Casino, and through Penn Treaty Park to Beach Street.DRCC is working on many sections north of the Port Richmond trail, which is complete. Ultimately, this long spoke from Spring Garden to the Bucks County line, which is part of the East Coast Greenway, will open up new access to a vast stretch of North and Northeast Philadelphia via bike lanes and off road trails.  

Pair of north-south streets east of Broad Street in North Philly

A pair of north-south bike lanes east of Broad has been proposed for 5th and 2nd Streets between Allegheny and Pine Streets. The degree to which these could be made into protected bike lanes is in debate. Given that this area of Fairhill and Feltonville is one of the three areas of the City with the highest concentration of fatal and severe injury crashes between 2010-2014, we believe finding a pair of streets that can accommodate high quality bike lanes in need of further study.

Next Step: Secure Councilwoman Sanchez’ support for identifying the right pair of streets for high quality bike lanes.

Know and Show

Now, we hope you understand where all these projects are. Getting high-quality infrastructure in Philadelphia is a complicated process involving many. Over the next year, the City will conduct public outreach on a corridor level.

Know the facts, show up to the meetings, make the case.

We are also working with specific staffs and members of City Council to better make the case for this network as it pertains to their districts. If you’re interested in joining the effort for a better network of bicycle infrastructure that will make Philadelphia safer and triple bicycling, sign up for our email campaigns.

You will receive information directly in your in box about specific corridors, talking points, and how to move forward with some of these projects.

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