Governor Wolf issued a press release on Monday addressing PENNDOT’s onerous Bicycle Occupancy Permit (BOP) and announced a pilot project to help PENNDOT standardize their bike lane policies.
“PennDOT will be issuing a policy change removing the Bicycle Occupancy Permit from its design manual,” the press release reads. “Moving forward, local governments will need only provide a letter of request for the proposed bicycle lane that includes the necessary information for PennDOT to appropriately evaluate the request. After a review, a letter of approval will be issued by the department. This will replace the previous requirement for a formal agreement between PennDOT and the municipality.”
The BOP requires local municipalities to sign a maintenance agreement for bike lanes on state roads.
Under the BOP, municipalities are responsible to maintain signs, sweep bike lanes, refresh paint and remove snow from the bike lane — even though PENNDOT is responsible for plowing the state roads anyway. Class 1 and 2 Cities (Philadelphia and Pittsburgh) are exempt from the BOP.
With a few notable exceptions, townships and cities balked at the maintenance agreement and thus bike lane networks are non-existent outside of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and State College (where some bike lanes were put in before the BOP requirement was strictly enforced).