We were alerted this morning that as part of the one year PennDOT construction project to redo the 1600-1800 blocks of the Ben Franklin Parkway, PennDOT is going to eradicate the bike lanes — and erect “Share the Road” signs as a replacement.
The Streets Department provided the following justification:
The lanes are being removed due to the construction logistics and will be on a temporary basis.
They will return at the conclusion of the project but at this time a shared condition will be implemented.
The expected completion date for this project is Spring 2016. If possible, lanes will be re-established sooner.
The City wants bicycling commuters to be considered while construction is occurring.
This stretch of road is not easy to ride with bike lanes and the prospect of no bike lanes for a year or more during a construction project is, needless to say, very unwelcome. Is there really no room to maintain the bike lane?
We think it should be maintained as long as possible during the project.
In its April 2015 newsletter, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation made the announcement that PennDOT is redoing the 1600-1800 blocks of Ben Franklin Parkway. Here’s an excerpt from the newsletter.
As you may have noticed, construction has begun on the latest phase of the Parkway public realm improvements. The work has started with replacement of the curb and pavement on the Logan Square triangle between the Four Seasons Hotel and Sister Cities Park. The project includes complete replacement of curbs and sidewalks between Logan Square and 16th Street, as well as new trees, enhanced plantings, site furnishings and a new irrigation system.
The $4.2M construction project is completely funded and managed by PennDOT, in coordination with PPR and the Department of Public Property. Work is anticipated to be complete by the end of 2015, with some planting occurring in 2016.
What does this mean for the existing bike lanes? Until this morning, we thought they would be maintained. But, apparently PennDOT and the Streets Department think sharing the road is the answer.
And the new bike lanes? They will be installed at the end of the project. PPR and MOTU have requested that PennDOT install six-foot bike lanes. As of now, the lanes will be painted green only at conflict zones. Painting the entire length of bike lanes green is estimated to cost $120,000 (2.8% of the project budget). PPR told us that PennDOT doesn’t have the funding in their budget to cover that cost. Given their high visibility and the importance of Ben Franklin Parkway as a Civic Boulevard, we think that the funding should be found to paint the bike lanes green.
The entire project is being done in three phases. Phase 1 includes the islands from 19th to 18th Street; Phase 2 is the north side; and Phase 3 is the south side. Additionally, a new 12 foot wide lay-by-lay lane will be constructed to eliminate the buses standing on top of the bike lane in front of the Four Seasons.
This is happening in Council President Darrell Clarke’s district and e recommend you contact Corey Bell in his office if you want to voice your opinion on this plan. You can call him at 215-686-3442 or send him an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll keep you updated on this issue as it develops.