Wednesday, February 28, 2007

BCGP's South Street Bridge Position Statement

Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia South Street Bridge Position Statement
The Bicycle Coalition thanks the Streets Department for considering our input in the bridge design process. The BCGP supports the on-road accommodation of bicyclists on the South Street Bridge.

To date our advocacy work has yielded changes to the original design including:

  • On-street bike lanes
  • The inclusion of advanced stop lines (London style bike boxes)
  • Advance pedestrian lead signals (a short pedestrians only phase) and
  • Pedestrian countdown timers

We continue to advocate for the following design changes:
Eliminate Overhead Highway Signage
Overhead signs tells motorists to treat the road like a high speed arterial. We advocate for smaller, lower, and more attractive signs that keeps the motorists eyes focused closer to street level.

Maintain the existing curb radii at the I-76 Interchange
“Rounding off” the curbs will encourage truck traffic and create faster turning traffic; increasing conflicts with pedestrians and bicyclists.

Design a sensible on-road connection to the Schuylkill River Trail ramp
The proposed design will place the Schuylkill River Trail entrance on the south sidewalk without a curb cut to the street. Observations at the Chestnut Street bridge show that this type of entrance encourages sidewalk bicycling, especially when the cyclist has to travel against traffic to arrive at the entrance. We believe that a curb cut near the trail ramp will eliminate some wrong way behavior.

Sign a traffic free bicycle detour behind the Palestra
A signed bike detour behind the Palestra and Franklin Field (32nd Street Alignment) to Chestnut Street will allow bicyclists to bypass the increased traffic volumes on 33rd, 34th street and Walnut Street and provide good access to the Chestnut Street Bridge, the Schuylkill River trail, Drexel University and 30th Street Station.

The Streets Department Should Consider Dedicated Right Turn Lanes
BCGP likes the concept of advanced stop lines to allow cyclists to get ahead of turning vehicles that are stopped. However given the high percentage of turning vehicles at the I-76 interchange we feel that a dedicated right turn lane and a blue crossover bike lane would be more appropriate.

The BCGP supports further public involvement with the final design process to ensure that the South Street Bridge fits within the context of its adjoining neighborhoods and serves the needs of the community


Anonymous said...

I bike over the South Street bridge every day, and I like all of these suggestions.

One caveat on the "blue crossover bike lane": The Walnut Street bridge implements this feature in a faulty way. The bike lane should always continue straight, and the right-turn lane should begin to the right of the bike lane. On Walnut Street (and, I fear, on South on the new bridge) the bike lane jags right as the right turn lane begins, and then the bike lane jags left to cross over it.

I don't see how this makes any sense from a traffic engineering point of view. My alternative, which I've seen in other places, takes up exactly the same amount of road space but allows cyclists to follow a straight path while much more clearly telling motorists to yield before merging right into the turn lane.

As it is, nobody wants to yield, and you have cyclists moving left in the blue lane at the same time cars moving at 40+ mph start their right turns.