By Alex McDonough
In Spring 2019, Philadelphia City Council passed Bill No. 180950, an ordinance that exempts businesses from the initial loading zone fee provided they are located on a street with a bike lane.
As is the case with numerous blandly-titled city ordinances, many businesses are unaware of a policy that could benefit them, saving both time & the stress of finding a spot to load and unload materials, all the while improving rider and driver safety on narrow city streets.
Some readers may have seen me walking up and down Spruce Street handing out flyers and information packets.
If you saw me, you may have wondered, “What is that lost child doing?”
Well, first, I should clarify that I am not a child but an adult, so as not to draw the ire of the Department of Labor
(If you are DoL: Hello, you guys do great work!)
Secondly, thank you for your concern, it means a lot in these cold winter months, so I implore you to read further for more information on what I was doing and why.
As congestion has gotten worse in Center City, there have been proposals to combat it, including increasing fines for improperly parked delivery drivers, which the Bicycle Coalition supports. But this alone will not prevent the scourge of truck traffic. We are going to need a series of policies across the board.
The goal of Bill 180950 is to encourage businesses to claim dedicated spots for their deliveries, which we believe will help with freeing up lanes for both cyclists and drivers.
More importantly, it will encourage delivery drivers to stop parking in bike lanes and stop putting people on bikes’ lives at risk.
The flyer packet I handed out to a number of Spruce Street businesses were assembled to demystify the application process and raise awareness of the recent ordinance. Included within the packet was the application itself which can be found here.
Businesses on bike-lane adjacent streets like Spring Garden Street, 13th Street, 22nd Street, and Snyder Avenue are encouraged to apply for their free loading zone as well. We will be visiting you sooner or later, too.
This is an effort that could potentially save time, lives, and more than a few headaches.