The Philadelphia Commission on Parks and Recreation rejected the potential velodrome project in South Philadelphia earlier today. Citing the open lands protection ordinance, the Commission found the privately-funded project that proposed using 3.9 acres of FDR Park in South Philadelphia didn’t meet three requirements of the ordinance when transferring or converting park land.
We respect that decision. We also hope the city can find space for a velodrome for Philadelphia’s adult citizens and youth in the near future.
Our support for the velodrome in FDR Park was largely based on the project providing space for Philadelphia’s youth who need more places to go to learn new sports. In particular, we were excited about what the Velodrome could do for Cadence Youth Cycling, a project of the Bicycle Coalition which currently works with youth in North and West Philadelphia on becoming track cyclists, participating in activities all over Philadelphia, and races and rides all over the region. Cadence Youth Cycling fosters healthy habits, independence and leadership in our students through the sport of cycling.
In our original letters of support for the velodrome last spring, Coalition staff noted a new track like this one could help bring our programming to South Philadelphia. Cadence is currently in eight schools in the region.
Given the work of Project 250, who headed up the velodrome project, we hope their continued efforts can find a spot for a Philadelphia velodrome.
NE Philly at the old Lindefield site right off academy road
Bring it to Camden. There’s quite a bit of empty land in the city. And it’s closer to Center City, than FDR park is. Plus there’s a bike path on the bridge. Look into it.
Camden is a great idea if the facility’s primary use will be a velodrome! But I think the developer wants this location because it would be the most lucrative one if the facility is used primarily as a 6000 seat small concert/sports venue. I would think Camden’s government would work enthusiastically with the developer to attract this facility. What about inside the Navy Yard? That would work great for both, a small concert venue and a velodrome.
The Bike Coalition of Greater Philadelphia has made a number of missteps recently.
They were late to the party and failed to oppose or even seriously question plans by Children’s Hospital to jam a parking garage ramp onto the South Street Bridge; this will pour 500 to 1,000 cars across the sidewalk and bike lanes of the best (for now, at least) bike-and-ped span in Pennsylvania. The BCGP even backpedaled on their own blog for expressing concern over CHOP’s suburban-style development. Of course, CHOP has one of their guys on the BCGP board, who did not bother to keep the BCGP in the loop about the garage ramp plan. The ramp will be a disaster for east-bound cyclists–and the BCGP appears to have given up on any protections for them.
Their recent merger with the Cadence Cycling Foundation looks to be a win for sport and racing cyclists–but will commuters and Fairmount Park supporters get any traction for their concerns? The decision to support an entertainment-and-bike-racing venue and its giant billboard seemed like a real stretch away from the Bicycle Coalition’s original principles of a a civil and beautiful city, and a bit of a sharp stick in the eye to Parks & Rec. — a natural ally.
When Councilman Greenlee scotched the 22nd Street Bike lanes, the BCGP was well behind parents’ groups and Philly Kidical Mass on the issue.
With regressive forces on City Council and within local neighborhood groups gearing up to protect parking at the cost of commuters and kids’ safety, the BCGP might need to be a little less “insidey” and work on their advocacy chops a bit!
Michael McGettigan / Trophy Bikes
(2-time BCGP Board Member and a co-founder of Neighborhood Bike Works)