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Editor’s note: After more than 1500 emails to members of the Senate Transportation Committee, this amendment was withdrawn in committee. Senate Bill 565 passed cleanly, and  is headed to the full Senate. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTED THE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE. YOU MADE THIS HAPPEN.

Bike lanes are under attack — again.

At the 11th hour, the Bicycle Coalition has just learned that SB565, the parking protected bike lane and pedestrian plaza bill, will be up for a vote in the Senate Transportation Committee tomorrow morning (Wednesday, February 5th) at 10:45am. Such news is what we’ve been working toward for two years.

But, Senator John Sabatina Jr. (D-Northeast Philadelphia) has introduced an amendment that is a blanket attack on all bike lanes in Philadelphia, and anyone who wants to ride a bicycle for transportation or recreation.

Senator Sabatina’s amendment requires letters of support from community organizations, State Senators, State Representatives and District City Councilpersons before any bike lane can be installed.

This requirement does not apply only to protected bike lanes, but any bike lane. And this requirement applies only to bike lanes in Philadelphia. 

Senator Sabatina’s power grab puts politics before safety.

It will effectively render the City of Philadelphia’s efforts to create a bikeway network, much less a network of protected bike lanes that will increase safety and attract more people to bike, useless.

This is not something we say lightly: Senator Sabatina’s amendment would make Philadelphia the only city in the entire country where such strict standards are applied before installing a bike lane. It needs to be rejected.

Senator Farnese, on the other hand, has introduced a good amendment to the bill, one that we support and want to see passed. His amendment would make SB565 identical to HB792, which passed out of the House 200-1.

But Senator Sabatina’s amendment would destroy any good to come out of Senate Bill 565.

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