Members of the Pennsylvania State Senate introduced legislation on Friday which would allow for parking-protected bike lanes and pedestrian plazas on state roads throughout the state.
And it’s a pretty big deal.
The legislation, introduced by State Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Phila) and co-sponsored by Democrats and Republicans throughout Pennsylvania, will amend the state vehicle code so that motor vehicles do not necessarily need to park within twelve inches of a concrete curb. Rather, the legislation would allow for motor vehicles to park next to a floating, or painted, curb, allowing for more parking-protected bike lanes. Read the bill here.
Currently, the small detail in the code, combined with PennDOT’s ownership of a large number of road miles throughout the state, is stymying the installation of car parked-protected bike lanes.
We recently worked with State Rep. Dave Maloney, a Republican of Berks County, to introduce House Bill 792, which fixes this detail of the Pennsylvania motor vehicle code. His bill is supported by several Philadelphia-area representatives, including Mary Jo Daley (D-148), Ed Neilson (D-174) and Jared Solomon (D-202) — along with representatives from others from other parts of the Commonwealth: Brett Miller (R-41), Mark Longietti (D-7) and Carol Hill-Evans (D-95) who are all initial co-sponsors.
But we’ve also been working with the state Senate on their bill—and, like the House bill, we knew it was important this be a bipartisan issue. So, we are glad to see some of the Republcian state Senators we’ve met with on this legislation, including Senators Tomlinson and Killian, who believe in the importance of safe streets.
Why is this so important? In part, because Philadelphia desperately needs safer passageways for its cycling population. But also because PennDOT streets represent a high proportion of Philly’s network—about 500 miles of our 2,500 miles of streets. And, according to the high-injury network released by Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability, PennDOT streets make up 58 percent of high-injury streets, per an analysis by Daniel McGlone.
Last legislative session, the House version of this bill passed unanimously. But the Senate version did not come up for a vote. We are determined to make sure that does not happen this year.
In addition to getting the legislation introduced in the House and Senate, we will be traveling to the state Capitol on April 30 to lobby specifically for this bill, and three others, including a vulnerable road user bill.
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