The Parking Authority has given us the preliminary results of the #unblockbikelanes Twitter campaign and has promised us additional measures to improve the enforcement of parking restrictions in bike lanes.
This past December, we helped the Philadelphia Parking Authority launch a Twitter campaign to identify which bike lanes are most chronically blocked by motor vehicles. The PPA reports that over three months (approximately Jan-March), the #unblockbikelanes campaign generated 55 complaints covering 20 different streets. Over the same three months, the PPA and the Police Department wrote 264 tickets for parking in bike lanes at a subset of those locations.
We took the data they gave us and made a basic map comparing the location of complaints with the ticket locations. Red lines indicate where complaints were made and tickets written. Blue dots indicate where complaints were made but no tickets written. The thicker the red line, the more tickets were written on that street.
The main takeaway of this data is that the bulk of tickets are being written on the streets receiving the most complaints: Spruce & Pine Streets, N. 13th Street (between Filbert & Arch), and N. 22nd (near Lombard Street, in front of the 7-Eleven).
In addition to giving us this data, the PPA has told us they are committing to taking these actions to improve enforcement:
- Have a supervisor do a test run of placing a PPA Officer on a “bike lane detail” to cover Spruce & Pine (Front to 22nd Street), 13th and 22nd Streets.
- Direct more officers to enforcement on Fairmount Avenue.
- Direct more enforcement during peak hours and assign supervisors to the entire lengths of Spruce and Pine Streets.
- Direct more enforcement during morning peak hours on 22nd Street, especially at the intersection of Lombard and 22nd Street.
- Assign more mobile units to 13th Street b/w Filbert and Arch Street between 8am – 2pm.
- Have supervisors review the religious institutions’ “courtesy” blocks with PPA Officers.
We appreciate the PPA being responsive to our concerns and the concerns of the thousands of bicyclists who use Philadelphia’s bike lanes daily. Data shows that bike lanes make streets safer for all users, drivers included, so enforcing no-parking regulations in those lanes contributes to safer streets and fewer injuries all around.
UPDATE 4/10/14 12:15PM: In our meeting with the PPA, the topic of PPA vehicles blocking bike lanes was brought up. Our contact there said they have noticed those reports, and are instructing their officers to not do that. It is worth remembering that a PPA vehicle can stop in a bike lane to load or unload officers, same as a private vehicle or cab can load or unload passengers.