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Bicycle Coalition

Photo: Mike Burlando on Facebook

In an act of guerilla tactical urbanism, plungers were glued to about three blocks of 22nd Street overnight on Wednesday, creating a (very) temporary protected bike lane along that particular well-used path from South Philadelphia into Center City and beyond.

There’s been a lot of talk on social media about the glued plungers (many of which have now been destroyed and/or run over), so here’s what’s up.

We know real protected bike lanes can save lives – that’s indisputable. Twenty-second Street is a really well-used bike lane, but it’s in decrepit shape. It’s not surprising someone took matters into their own hands.

And, the fact that so many of these plungers have been destroyed less than 24 hours later shows how dangerous streets can be — and why true physical separation is so important.

The people who set up the plungers on 22nd Street did not do so alone. Around the country, in cities like Boston, Providence, Omaha, and elsewhere, people have been protecting bike lanes with toilet plungers.

Bicycle Coalition

Photo: Leonard Bonarek

According to Bicycling Magazine, “Guerilla toilet plunger bike lanes are officially a trend.”

As many know, the Bicycle Coalition believes 22nd Street is one of the city’s most important routes. Making it permanently-protected is part of our “Hub and Spoke” campaign, and we’d like to see protected bike lanes—real protected bike lanes, not just plungers—along the route. The plungers that went in perhaps show how easy it could be to install a protected bike lane without disrupting the street.

In many other cities around the country, plunger-protected bike lanes have, eventually, led to the real thing. The City should look at how quickly other cities have acted and ask themselves if this, too, is worth making permanent.

Randy LoBasso

Author

Randy LoBasso is the policy director at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

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