Wednesday’s Spruce/Pine meeting was very well attended and organized. The evening opened with a human-protected bike lane along Spruce Street for cyclists to show support for safer, better infrastructure, and proceeded with a well-organized, informative meeting by the Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems
As most know by now, the biggest change to Spruce and Pine in 2018 is a planned switch of the bike lane from the right to the left. We support this particular change because, as shown in these series of researched points, left-side bike lanes provide better vision for drivers and could result in fewer angle crashes—which happen to be the most prevalent crashes on these particular streets.
We also support the latter two of the three “potential intersection treatments” (shown below) because they would do away with bicycle/motor vehicle “mixing zones” at Spruce and Pine’s intersections, forcing people in motor vehicles to take wider turns, making those areas safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
Because of organizing efforts around the city, last night’s meeting went well. Attendees learned a lot about the city’s plans and were able to provide pivotal feedback.
Not a single attendee among the dozen approached by PlanPhilly said they opposed the move, which planners from the city’s Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems (OTIS) say would help prevent crashes between cyclists and turning cars by improving sightlines for drivers. Members of the Center City Residents Association (CCRA) board canvassed the meeting, held at 300 South Broad St. for residents and businesses on the street’s west side, saying they would solicit more feedback before they took a position on the proposal. And while there were undoubtedly a few opponents, almost all of the public comments left on post-it notes were positive.
But tonight’s meeting may end up being the real test.
Society Hill Civic Association has asked the block captains in their area to pass around petitions opposing the plan for Spruce and Pine, calling for more study of the corridor. We received the petition from a block captain who was asked to go door-to-door, but was not willing to do so. This is it:
We believe the corridor has been studied—and studied, and studied, and studied—and the time is now to begin changes that will make Spruce and Pine safer for cyclists.
Spruce and Pine have been faded and kept in decrepit shape for several years, and the lack of action on those streets is partially what caused this winter’s extreme crashes, one of which killed 24-year-old Emily Fredricks.
Status quo is just not an option.
Longer term, these streets needed added protection so cyclists are physically separated from motor vehicle traffic, creating a situation not only where people on bicycles are statistically safe, but where anyone feels comfortable getting on a bicycle and traveling on these streets.