Budget season is upon us. This can be a stressful but exciting time if you’re closely watching and participating in the process. This year, the Bicycle Coalition has a list of priorities we’re advocating for, and will be testifying in favor of on May 4.
There is $4.1 billion in the budget proposed by Mayor Kenney. Here are the important areas we feel need to receive adequate funding through Fiscal Year 2017’s budget and beyond and what we’d like to make sure the budget addresses.
Act 89 Funds Properly Appropriated
In early December, City Council passed the city’s first Vision Zero related bill by tacking on a $5 registration fee for all motor vehicles, which was made possible by Act 89. Thanks to the efforts of Councilmembers Cindy Bass and Mark Squilla, this additional fee is going toward roadway improvements. This was a big step for Philly and the next step is to ensure the funds are getting to areas where they need to be: Funding for street safety in the city.
Further Vision Zero-Related Funding
Our goal to reduce traffic-related deaths in Philadelphia to ZERO has the full backing Mayor Kenney. We hope that funding for items such as protected bike lanes, red light cameras, and more funds related to enforcement of traffic laws are allocated. Another part of this is seeing the development of a comprehensive Vision Zero Action Plan which we are hoping the city will adopt once it has been written.
Adequate Paving Budget
Besides seeing maintenance to fading bike lanes and the installation of the city’s first protected bike lane along Ryan Avenue this year, we would like to see an additional 15 miles of new bikes lanes put down during the current paving season. More bike lanes means calmer traffic. Slower traffic means more lives saved.
Passing of the Proposed Soda Tax
The so-called soda tax, which we support, would capitalize a bond fund called Rebuild Philadelphia, which Mayor Kenney proposes to use for projects like repairing recreation centers, libraries, and other park facilities.
Trails, including those that are part of the Circuit, would be eligible for this bond fund. Currently there are about 25 miles of Circuit Trails in the city which we are hoping to see connected to the trail system over the next 5 to 8 years.
The final budget hearing is scheduled to take place on May 4th. We encourage you to attend this hearing to show Council that there is public support for Vision Zero, safe roads, bike lanes and of road trails.
Can you join us in City Council? Come to City Hall Room 400 on May 4 at 5pm.