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Bicycle Coalition

Philadelphia resident Latanya Byrd speaks out for automated enforcement on Roosevelt Blvd.

Pennsylvania Senate Bill 172, which legalizes automated speed enforcement on Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia, and work zones around the state, has passed the Pennsylvania state legislature.

Tuesday’s vote of 47-1 in the state Senate, is the end result of several years of hard work, lobbying and advocating alongside members of the Vision Zero Alliance, and Bicycle Coalition members and supporters.

“This is a special victory for the residents of North Philadelphia who live near or drive on Roosevelt Boulevard,” said Sarah Clark Stuart, Executive Director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. “For too many years, this badly designed highway has allowed motorists to speed with impunity and cause fatalities that have wrecked families and communities.  We are ecstatic that persistent advocacy for this bill by so many people and organizations was finally heard by the General Assembly.”

Our members signed petitions, sent emails, made calls, and rode with us to Harrisburg to fight for this bill—and, on behalf of everyone at 1500 Walnut Street, we thank you for all your hard work!

As most know, Roosevelt Boulevard is the most dangerous road in the City of Philadelphia. As many as 14 people have already been killed along that road this year. And, on a yearly basis, the road makes up 10-13 percent of the city’s road deaths. This year, unfortunately, we’re on pace for the rate to be higher than that.

But speed cameras have been shown to bring down deaths on streets like Roosevelt Boulevard, and we are proud for having delivered this aspect of Philadelphia’s Vision Zero plan. Speed cameras are also a more equitable form of enforcement, cannot discriminate on who gets a ticket and who doesn’t, and can help change the culture of speeding along and near high-injury streets.

Fierce advocates like Latanya Byrd (whose niece, Samara Banks, and three of Banks’ children, were tragically killed by drag racers while crossing the Boulevard) joined us in Harrisburg on several occasions, spending countless hours speaking with legislators and helping us organize citizens in her community.

A member of the Vision Zero Alliance, AARP-PA stood by our side throughout this process, and has been a huge voice of support for automated enforcement in Philadelphia.

“We need to prioritize safety over speed,” states Bill Johnston-Walsh, AARP Pennsylvania State Director. “We are pleased that SB172 is headed to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law. This is a significant step towards reducing traffic deaths and serious injuries across the Commonwealth.”

When the vote was complete, Transportation Committee Chair John Rafferty mentioned the Vision Zero Alliance by name on the Senate floor, thanking our organization for helping get this bill done.

“The Bicycle Coalition is proud for having delivered this aspect of Mayor Kenney’s Philadelphia Vision Zero Action Plan,” said Bob Previdi, Policy Coordinator of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

Senate Bill 172 will legalize speed cameras along Roosevelt Boulevard and in work zones across the state of Pennsylvania. That’s good. But there’s still work to be done. And you’ll all be hearing about it soon enough.

Randy LoBasso

Author

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

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