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Bicycle Coalition

A project to update Spruce and Pine Streets will finally begin this week, the Streets Department has announced, and members of the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability will be at Broad and Spruce Streets on Thursday, from 5pm-7pm, to answer any questions you may have.

The new engineering concept for Spruce and Pine Streets includes moving the bike lane from the right side of the streets to the left, adding protection to the intersections, and green paint, as shown in the above diagram.

These improvements are, of course, well received, but the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia believes more work needs to be done on these streets to make them safe for anyone who wants to ride a bicycle and turn this re-engineering into a Vision Zero project.

Spruce and Pine Streets are among the most-biked in the City of Philadelphia, and were the first buffered bike lanes to be installed in Center City, river to river.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of maintenance and a culture of illegal parking in those lanes, the streets have deteriorated and the bike lanes have become virtually unrecognizable over the past decade. Repaving, re-striping, and re-engineering the street will hopefully provide a fix to these issues.

This project is a long time coming. There was a public outcry after the death of Philadelphia pastry chef Emily Fredricks in November 2017, which led, in part, to the plan for improvements.

But this plan does not address the number of vehicles parked in the Spruce and Pine bike lanes, which put cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists’ lives at risk.

While the Philadelphia Parking Authority has increased ticketing on Spruce and Pine Streets over the last five years, the issue persists, and Spruce and Pine Streets are still the most-violated streets for vehicles parked in the bike lanes, according to PPA data.

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and volunteers conducted ‘car counts’ on Spruce and Pine Streets in 2018 and found that, on average, there were two cars parked in each block of the bike lane during rush hour. Fully protecting the lanes would help solve this problem in the long-term.

The work will be ongoing throughout the summer and the ‘pop up’ meeting will take place at Broad and Spruce Streets on Thursday, from 5pm-7pm.

Randy LoBasso

Author

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

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