On Thursday, State Sen. Larry Farnese sent a letter to the Chairpeople of the Senate Transportation Committee, calling for a vote on Senate Bill 565, which would allow for more flexibility to install protected bike lanes and pedestrian plazas along state-owned roads.
Farnese (D-Phila) is the prime sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, and has an enormous stake in making sure the citizens of Philadelphia are allowed the safest infrastructure available when bicycling, walking, or driving in the city.
“Without immediate action on this bill, PennDOT will repave our roads during the 2019 season without Pedalcycle Lanes that provide the highest quality of safety to bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers,” Farnese’s letter reads. “If we fail to act on SB 565 we risk the loss of several major bike lane projects funded for construction this year. Therefore, we must act now in order to decrease the amount of bicycle fatalities in our state, increase the safety of all individuals on our roads, and to make sure we appropriately use taxpayer dollars for future road paving projects.”
The projects at risk include Lindberg Ave., Parkside Ave., the Chestnut Street Bridge, 5th Street and 6th Street, the latter two projects of which are in Farnese’s district and would create a safer commute for hundreds of cyclists traveling to and from work, school, errands, or recreation, daily.
Farnese’s letter went directly to State Sen. Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland) and State Sen. John Sabatina, the majority and minority chairs, respectively, of the Senate Transportation Committee.
The Bicycle Coalition has worked with members of the state Legislature, PennDOT, the City of Philadelphia, Bike Pittsburgh, and dozens of other bike groups around the state, to advocate for passage of this legislation.
On Monday, June 10, Bicycle Coalition staff was in the state Capitol when the House version of the bill, sponsored by State Rep. Paul Maloney (R-Berks), passed the House Transportation Committee, unanimously.
We have been told the House version of the legislation will be up for second consideration on June 25, and third (and final) consideration June 26th.
This legislation has passed the House before, just to die in the Senate. That’s why we’re optimistic to see State Sen. Farnese putting pressure on the Senate Transportation Committee to get this legislation through and made into law.
If you haven’t yet, please thank Sen. Farnese on Twitter (@larryfarnese) for championing this legislation, and use this post to call your state representative, asking them to vote YES on HB 792 when it comes up for a vote.
Please request that Penn Dot install bike lanes on newly paved roads.
Thank you for supporting bike safety. This is critical to any resilient US city as climate change continues to impact our lives. Could you please work with the City to fix our potholes. These pose a huge safe risk. For example, I had a bike accent two weeks ago when I rode over a 1 foot wide by 1 foot deep pothole in the middle of West River Drive. It was a bad ball but no broken bones. The potholes on Spruce street (and everywhere) are totally out of control. This of course is a result to changing climate patters (freeze thaw cycles). Philly needs a pot hole plan.
Thank you Thank you Thank you! I l am an oldster who pedals an e-assist adult trike for transportation and welcome bike lanes that make my transportation safer and eaiser.
Please, pass legislation that will help me return home alive to my family..,
6/21/2019-Friday: I just called Representative James R. Roebuck and Senator Anthony Williams (my representatives in the PA General Assembly) to urge them to support HB 792 and SB 565, respectively.
Roebuck: an assistant took down my number and about an hour later Roebuck himself called me back. He was completely unaware of HB792. I did my best to explain its intent with respect to expanding bike lanes. He expressed approval and enthusiastic support, and said he’d vote for it.
Williams: first called his Philly office. A gentleman answered and pointedly refused to characterize the Senator’s position on SB 565 specifically or on bike lanes more generally, and referred me to the Senator’s legislative director in Harrisburg, Kyle. I spoke with him on the phone for about 5 minutes. He (and presumably the Senator) was not familiar with SB 565, but said Senator Williams would “probably” support it if it came up for a floor vote. With respect to the broader issue of support (or not) for bike lanes, Senator Williams is “concerned” about them and gives special weight to his “older” constituents who may have mobility issues and/or are rather accustomed to their cars and the parking spots for them. Kyle (who was pleasant, reasonable, and frank throughout) acknowledged that some of the Senator’s constituents are strong proponents of biking. My impression was that Senator Williams’ position on bike lanes is not one of out-right hostility but he definitely does not appear to be a strong supporter. Too bad.
Thank you BCGP for keeping the ball moving on this important matter.