As a member of the PA Suburban Bike Lanes Working Group, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia was on hand last week when DVRPC announced that PennDOT will build about six miles of new bike lanes in the four PA counties that surround Philadelphia. While this number may not blow your hair back, keep in mind that there were only about 34 total miles of bike lanes installed in the four counties, ever.
The fact that there are fewer bike lane miles in the suburbs is due to several factors, but a major one was the Bicycle Occupancy Permit (BOP), which the Bicycle Coalition successfully advocated for PennDOT to change in 2017. The above listed projects all likely would not have been possible with “The BOP” still in place.
Why will only around six of the listed eleven miles get bike lanes? Even with a less onerous permitting process, each municipality must formally request a bike lane and agree to maintain the new bike striping. During the 2019 push, we did not have enough lead time to advocate to municipalities who had questions about the process or who requested a formal presentation to their board meetings. In another case, the Borough of Swarthmore declined to allow bike lanes to be installed, citing its “existing alternative routes” as a better solution. As such, some projects wound up being new striped shoulders, sharrows, or signage instead of bike lanes.
We’re excited about the 2020 paving season, because initial screening of projects has already begun.
Want to propose a bike lane for 2020? Click here for our blog explaining the process. There is a link at the bottom of that form will connect you to a webform to make a request. We will communicate these requests at the next Working Group meeting.
Wondering how we got here? Click here for a deeper dive.