For the past two years, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, Bike Pittsburgh, bicycle and pedestrian safety groups from all over Pennsylvania, in conjunction with municipalities from Philadelphia to Lancaster, have been advocating — both locally and in the state Capitol — for legislation which would make it easier to install parking-protected bike lanes in the Commonwealth. And we’re closer than ever to getting the legislation passed. So, if you haven’t signed our joint petition with Bike Pittsburgh yet, please do, here.
Here’s the deal: according to the state Vehicle Code, motor vehicles are required to park within 12 inches of a curb. The state has interpreted this to mean motor vehicles cannot park outside a bike lane.
There are exceptions, of course. The city has installed parking-protected bike lanes on their own terms. But getting these bike lanes done — like those on 11th Street, Chestnut Street, 6th Street, Market, and JFK — have to be done almost entirely by the city. Changing the state vehicle code would allow PennDOT to install protected bike lanes, themselves, on the streets they control in Philadelphia, and all over the Commonwealth.
The legislation we support, House Bill 792, was introduced by Republican David Maloney of Berks County. His legislation, and State Sen. Larry Farnese’s (D-Phila) corresponding Senate legislation, would change the vehicle code to allow for the installation of bike lanes and for motor vehicles to park outside those lanes.
In the Spring, we were in Harrisburg when it passed the House Transportation Committee, unanimously, then moved to the full House. It would eventually pass with a bipartisan 200-1 vote.
It went to the Senate Transportation Committee, and has been stalled ever since. The legislation is supported by Republicans and Democrats, and PennDOT has explicitly stated it needs the legislation in order to complete many of its own safety initiatives. After all, while protected bike lanes make the street safer for bicyclists, and invite more bicyclists to ride, they’ve also been proven safer for pedestrians and motorists.
But the Chair of the Committee, Senator Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland) has not brought up the legislation for a vote, yet. This legislation is largely dependent on her willingness to allow for a vote in the Transportation Committee.
That’s why we previously hoped to deliver 1,000 Pennsylvanian signatures to her this month.
The (good) problem? We surpassed that goal about a week ago.
Now, we’re going for 2,000. Can you help us reach our new goal? Your help would go a long way to making sure all Pennsylvanians who want to, can ride a bicycle safely, wherever they live.
Getting this legislation passed in 2020 would allow for cities like Lancaster, Harrisburg, Scranton, Erie, Easton, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia install safer, cleaner, infrastructure for anyone to use. Please sign our petition at this link. We’ll have an update as to when we plan on delivering your names and messages for Senator Ward.