A few bicyclists were flabbergasted on Tuesday when a work crew showed up at the Fairfield Hotel at 13th and Spruce to uninstall the flex posts designed to keep motor vehicles out of the bike lane in front of the hotel.
Those posts, which travel about a fifth of a single block, were installed last year after a lawsuit, brought by Bicycle Crash Lawyer Stuart Leon on behalf of a client, forced the valet parking company to put in physical protection to stop their valets from using the bike lane to load and unload passengers.
So, lots of us were a bit surprised when, without warning, the posts were ripped out.
After a little bit of digging, we were able to figure out what was going on—and it’s not all bad.
Park Ops, the company which had done valet parking at the Fairfield Marriott at 13th and Spruce, is no longer the valet operator at that hotel. Since Park Ops were the ones who were sued to install the flex posts, when they were done operating the parking there, they were uninstalled.
I spoke with Stuart Leon yesterday as this was going on, who spoke to the manager of the hotel.
“I was like, ‘Oh boy, am I going to have to re-litigate this?’” Leon notes, upon hearing the flex posts had been uninstalled. “But I was delighted to get several phone calls from [hotel manager] Jim Lawrence Evans. He said, ‘we’re sorry this happened, we’re going to put up temporary barriers and order new delineator posts ASAP.’”
Within a couple hours, Evans said he had ordered new posts and they should be installed soon—hopefully by the end of the week.
That’s the good news. Unfortunately, Uber and Lyft drivers, perhaps unaware of the rules of the road in Philadelphia (or, totally indifferent to them), continue to park in the bike lane just beyond the flex posts, as do delivery trucks. The situation won’t be totally remedied until 13th Street’s bike lane is completely protected and there is adequate loading for delivery truck drivers and other people who need it.
Fortunately, we’re heading in that direction. Thirteenth Street is set for repaving over the next year and will be getting a protected bike lane and additional loading through Center City.
— Charles J Krueger (@ckrueger99) May 23, 2019