Throughout 2018, the Bicycle Coalition expanded upon its role as a regional leader in road safety advocacy with a series of policy and infrastructure wins that are helping bring the Greater Philadelphia Region into the 21st Century, making the city and the surrounding suburbs more bikeable, and safer for everyone using the roads.
But unlike past years, where we advocated for our position in public and in meetings with the city and representatives, the Bicycle Coalition and our partners began taking some of the same priorities we’ve always fought for — bike lanes, better trails, education, clear streets — into our own hands.
The stakes of our work are higher than ever because more people ride bicycles in Philadelphia and the region than ever and safety is a more pressing issue than ever before.
Bicycles and other forms of alternative transportation are quickly becoming the norm for getting around increasingly-congested cities around the country, and it’s up to us to make sure everyone can do so safely and with minimal stress.
We used every (sh)arrow in our arsenal to make the Greater Philadelphia area a better, safer, more educated place, working with everyone from concerned citizens to political action committees, to professional lobbyists, to lawyers, to teachers, to to make our agenda a reality.
As the year closes, we’re highlighting what we accomplished thanks to our members and volunteers. We’ll be publishing a blog each day covering the successes enabled by our members’ and partners’ investment in us.
Here is a brief rundown of what the Bicycle Coalition was up to in January 2018:
Our Newest Program: Technical Assistance for Suburban Circuit Communities
Bicycle Coalition Suburban Regional Planner Leonard Bonarek hit the ground running in 2018. After the Bicycle Coalition helped get the Bicycle Occupancy Permit law overturned in 2017, we began working directly with bike groups and advocates throughout the 9-county region to better access to bicycle infrastructure.
This strategic effort is being established to aid suburban local activists and decision-makers who want to connect their community to The Circuit, our region’s 800+ mile network of multi-use trails.
When The Circuit is complete, it will connect to communities all over our 9-county region. As extensive as it will be, most townships and boroughs will still lack safe routes connecting their residents to Circuit Trails.
The TASCC program seeks to remedy this situation by providing technical assistance to local communities so that they can identify “low stress connections” to the nearest Circuit segment. These interventions can vary from something as simple as signing and mapping an existing connection via side roads to more complex interventions involving bike/ped infrastructure improvements to key roadways and intersections.
A Renewed Push for Sideguards on City and Private Trucks
Following the tragic crash that took the life of Emily Fredricks in November 2017, we explored the idea of requiring large trucks to install side guards and convex mirrors to prevent people on foot or bicycle from being caught in the undercarriage of those vehicles.
As part of our 7 Demands to the City of Philadelphia, we noted side guards should be required for all large trucks using city streets. In their response, the City sort of shrugged at the idea of requiring all trucks to use side guards. So, we began looking into how other cities — specifically Boston and Chicago — wrote their side guard legislation, for insight on how Philadelphia could do it.
The advocacy for safer trucks operating in the city would prove fruitful throughout the year.
A Safer Roosevelt Boulevard
The Philadelphia Vision Zero Alliance, consisting of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance, AARP, AAA, 5th Square, and others, hosted an informational breakfast with Pennsylvania Rep. John Taylor, to discuss ways to make Roosevelt Boulevard a better, safer place to travel.
This policy breakfast basically kicked off a successful year of advocacy for Roosevelt Boulevard.
At our first Roosevelt Bouelvard event of the year, Rep. Taylor, Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Sarah Clark Stuart and Latanya Byrd, the family member of a Roosevelt Boulevard casualty, discussed the most-recent incarnation of the auto-enforcement bill, Senate Bill 172, at the event.
Partnering For Hyperlocal Changes
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and Philadelphia 3.0 co-hosted a meeting to discuss the history of “bike politics” in Philadelphia and what private citizens can do in their communities to make changes. The event was free and open to the public.
About 20 people came to listen to Sarah Clark Stuart from the Bicycle Coalition talk about many of the details and efforts that have led to successes and failures in Philly bike infrastructure and laws. After Stuart, Jon Geeting of Philadelphia 3.0 explained to the audience how those in attendance can get involved in their local community organizations and run for office as a committeeperson.
Through advocacy and education, the Bicycle Coalition leads the movement to make bicycling a safe and fun way to get around for anyone in Greater Philadelphia. We’re a member-funded organization, and we can’t advocate for building out the region’s bicycle network without your support. Join or donate today to partner with us and make your ride better.