Bicycle Coalition

After obtaining the necessary funding, the City of Philadelphia is committed to making streets safer for pedestrians, people who ride bicycles, and people who drive motor vehicles, by upgrading buffered bike lanes to protected bike lanes.

Some specific lanes have been proposed for Lombard and South Streets in a small section of Southwestern Philadelphia. Once installed, they will create a calmer, safer connection to and from Center City and the South Street Bridge.

In light of phony information being passed around by an anonymous author, we’ve put together our own explainer on protected bike lanes, and what they mean for the people who use them, and those who don’t. Most information in this explainer was taken from third-party sites, often word-for-word, and is cited via links.

Protected Bike Lanes are:

Physical separation: Protected bike lanes have some sort of physical, stationary, vertical separation between moving motor vehicle traffic and the bike lane. Examples of vertical separation include plastic posts, bollards, curbs, planters, raised bumps or parked cars.
Exclusively for people on bikes: Protected bike lanes define and allocate space exclusively for people on bikes—and cannot share space with pedestrians or motorized traffic except for brief mixing zones such as at intersections.
On or adjacent to the roadway: Protected bike lanes are part of the street grid. In some instances, a protected lane may be separated from the road, but it runs parallel and proximate to the roadway.

Protected Bike Lanes Make Streets Safe For EVERYONE
Because they shorten crossing distances, control turning conflicts and reduce traffic weaving, New York City’s protected bike lanes reduced injury rates for people walking on their streets by 12 to 52 percent.
NYCDOT, 2013

Protected Bike Lanes encourage better bicycling
When Chicago added a protected lane and bike-specific traffic signals to Dearborn Street, stoplight compliance on bicycles immediately rose from 31 percent to 81 percent.
Chicago Department of Transportation, 2013

Protected Bike Lanes are Liked, Once Installed
62 percent of people who live near protected lane projects “would be more likely to ride a bicycle if motor vehicles and bicycles were physically separated by a barrier.”
Monsere, C., et al., 2014 

Protected Bike Lanes Are Good for the Economy
A redesign of NYC’s Union Square to include a protected bike lane resulted in 49% fewer commercial vacancies, compared to 5% more throughout Manhattan.
– NYC DOT, 2012

What you can do:
Attend a meeting on July 17 at 5:30pm at the Philadelphia School (2500 South Street).

Learn more:

Some tips for 7/17 meeting:

Know the information presented above.
When it comes to meetings like the one which will happen on 7/17, the way you feel doesn’t really matter. What matters is the truth — and the truth is, protected bike lanes work. How do we know? Because of the information presented above.

A listening session is not a debate.
It’s easy for meetings on bike lanes — which tend to be emotional — to become a debate between those for bicycles and those for cars. This is not, and should not, be the goal of the meeting. It’s important those in support of bicycling do not stoop to the level of the person who created the flier we reported on earlier this week. Present facts.

Do not belittle others.
Last time a meeting like this was held (then by the Washington West Civic Association), it descended into part philosophical debate, part self-congratulatory back patting. Sparring groups laughed at each other, clapped for themselves, and felt the need to comment on sweeping, broad topics rather than the task at hand. That was counterproductive. Please do not fall into this trap. Protected bike lanes create a safer space for more people to feel comfortable riding their bikes. They do not take access away from anyone else. That’s it. Creating ill will toward the residents of Lombard and South makes you no better than the person or persons who created that flier.

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