Saturday, December 06, 2008

Bicyclists Urged to Ride Safely on South Street Bridge Detours

Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia stresses need for increased safety measures for bicyclists

With the South Street Bridge scheduled for closure on Monday, December 8, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is asking bicyclists to ride safely on detours.

"We are urging bicyclists to stay in the road, to follow bike lanes and to not ride on sidewalks," said Breen Goodwin, Bicycle Ambassadors Coordinator, a community adult education program sponsored by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the city of Philadelphia, University City District and Fairmount Park.

"Shaving a few minutes off your bike commute is not worth the increased risk posed to yourself and others by riding against traffic or on the sidewalk," added Goodwin.

The anticipated increase in motor vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle traffic on all detour roads makes it critical that rules of the road be followed and enforced for all users. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is especially concerned that bicyclists who want to go to Center City may try to use Walnut Street Bridge, either by riding on sidewalks or in the bike lane going in the wrong direction.

"We have made several recommendations to the city on how the detour can be improved for bicyclists, chief among them is to create a complete bike lane on 33rd Street so that bicyclists know that they should ride all the way up to Chestnut Street to go eastbound," said John Boyle, Advocacy Director for the Bicycle Coalition.

A complete list of the Bicycle Coalition's recommendations for improving the detour can be found at their website

A recent count of all of the five Schuylkill Bridges found that the South Street Bridge is the most heavily used by bicyclists. As documented in the report Double Dutch: Bicycling Jumps in Philadelphia, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia found that 160 bikes cross the South Street Bridge per hour during rush hour.

"Over seven percent of vehicular traffic on the South Street Bridge is bicycles, which is about 1,700 bicyclists a day," said Boyle. "All those bicycles are now going to cross the Walnut and Chestnut Street Bridges, doubling bicycle traffic on those bridges."

In order to assist bicyclists, the Bicycle Ambassadors will have a street team at key intersections during the morning and evening rush hours on the first day of the closure. Ambassadors will be handing out detour maps as well as rules of the road for bicyclists. A copy of the map is also available on their website.

"We are pleased that the South Street Bridge's makeover is finally beginning," says Alex Doty, Executive Director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. "The new bridge will be safer for bicyclists and more pedestrian friendly and we thank Mayor Nutter and his administration for their leadership."

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization making bicycling better through advocacy and education by promoting biking as a healthy, low-cost, and environmentally-friendly form of transportation and recreation.

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Sayonara Southie


caduceus said...

Seems like a key issue here is the fact that the bicycle lane on Chestnut street crossing from W Phila to center city is unsafe, unusable, and ridiculously dangerous. The city claims it is five feet wide, but three is more accurate, and it runs cyclists into the new post office traffic and a concrete barrier. If the call is for cyclists to use bicycle lanes, the lanes have to be safe.

Sarah Clark Stuart said...

The Bicycle Coalition has been working to get the Streets Department, U of P and the Parking Authority to take steps to make the detour safer for bicyclists. Please read the recommendations we have made here

As a result of sending these recommendations to the Streets Department, we are meeting with them to work out which ones will be implemented. Stay tuned for an update on this blog.

caduceus said...

The recommendations are great - perhaps they could also mention the condition of the bicycle lane on Chestnut between 33rd and 30th, which is awful and definitely not 5 feet wide.