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Report From Today’s Human-Protected Bike Lane

There were already multiple vehicles parked in the 22nd Street bike lane when protesters showed up just before 8am on Tuesday morning.

It was a sort of fitting, if maddening, example of why a group had begun forming in front of a new Wawa on the corner.

The point of Tuesday’s demonstration—a human protected bike lane in front of the new Wawa on 22nd and South Streets—was to highlight how motorists parking in the bike lane on 22nd Street to head into Wawa, or even Wawa’s delivery truck drivers parking in the lane, put cyclists’ lives at risk every day.

And since the Wawa has opened, there’s been little attention paid to the cars sitting in the bike lane during rush hour, happy hour, and, basically all hours.

So little, in fact, a mere four tickets were given out for people illegally parked at 22nd and South Streets in May – and only 34 tickets were given out at this intersection all year.

The action, organized by Vision Zero Direct Action, highlighted the problem of 22nd Street, which includes oh, so much more than just cars parking in the bike lane on this small stretch.

Twenty-second Street is, in fact, a total mess, up and down. From South Philadelphia to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, it’s hard to tell where the bike lane ends, where it begins, and where it exists. Twenty-Second Street’s potholes and faded striping is well-known, and the cars that pull over into the bike lane help turn the street into Mad Maxian anarchy.

So, cyclists set up a human-protected bike lane, as they’d done before, on Spruce Street and 13th Street, and created a space for those commuting into the city by bicycle – about 241 per hour, according to 2017 BCGP counts; although more were observed this morning – to get into Center City.

Faded bike lanes are absolutely a Vision Zero issue, and should be treated as such.

The Bicycle Coalition has started a petition which we will be giving to the City, the PPA, and the Wawa, which calls upon all organizations to do the following:

  1. Wawa should protect the lane with plastic bollards, signage, and direct customers out of the bike lane and into a legal parking spot.
  2. The City of Philadelphia should create a Loading Zone on the west side of the street, so patrons have a place to park, and delivery trucks have a legal space to unload.
  3. The Philadelphia Parking Authority needs to better enforce this corridor. A mere 34 tickets were handed out during the first five months of 2018 for motor vehicles parked in the bike lane at 22nd and South Streets — only two of which were given out in May. The PPA should up its enforcement at this intersection, deterring Wawa’s delivery truck drivers, and customers, from parking in front of the convenience store and endangering the lives of people on bicycles who use this street.

If you’re interested in signing your name to this petition, click here.

We will have continual updates on 22nd Street as the summer progresses.

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Topics: Biking in Philly, Featured, Vision Zero

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