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For the third time in the last three months, members of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia staff and volunteers set out to do something extremely simple and satisfying.

We picked up some brooms, shovels, and gigantic paper bags to clean some bike lanes. We hit Chestnut Street in November, 11th Street in December, and the Pine Street bike lane on Thursday.

Talk about teamwork! Volunteers Craig McClure and Scott Gross work together to scoop those leaves

Since the intersection protection has been installed on Pine between 22nd and Ninth, dirt, grime, trash, and leaves have congregated at the corners. And with little to know city maintenance of the bike lanes, we figured it was as good a time to get out there and clean them up. Some of the worst filth was at 20th Street, so we figured we’d start there and move our way east.

BCGP regional planner with the catch of his life

Earlier in the day, I noted on the Facebook event page that, although we set aside 90 minutes for the cleanup, volunteers were free to come for the full hour-and-a-half, or a half hour, or five minutes. Whatever. We’re just grateful anyone cares enough about the maintenance and safety of Philly’s bike lanes to set aside time from their day to help out.

Throughout the afternoon, eight people, including two BCGP staff members, came through to clean the bike lanes. It was fun.

BCGP Board member Perry Benson psyched about the cleaned bike lane at 20th and Pine Sts.

Among the highlights (or, lowlights) of the day: Ash (?) that’d been dumped over a storm drain that, over however long it’d been there, turned into rock! Luckily, BCGP regional planner Leonard Bonarek had brought a hoe, which we used to break up the rock and (mostly) remove it from the drain.

We were also followed as we made our way east by a series of UPS and other delivery trucks using the bike lane as their parking zone. They were all unticketed, and we didn’t see anyone enforcing the right-of-way blockage. It was a good reminder of all the work that still needs to be done to make Philadelphia a safer place to ride a bike.

Where should we clean up next? Email randy@Bicyclecoalition.org with your idea.

Randy LoBasso

Author

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

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