Thursday, August 13, 2009

Spruce/Pine Bike Lane Meeting Report and Follow Up

Breaking News: Press coverage of last night's meeting in the Inquirer and CityPaper

Last night's meeting on the Spruce/Pine Bike Lanes went very well. (Health care has nothing on bike lanes!!) It was very well attended by an overflow crowd of over 150 people. Needless to say, bicyclists were well represented and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia THANKS ALL SUPPORTERS for coming out.

Steve Buckley from the Mayor's Office of Transportation gave the presentation and fielded the audience's questions (and comments), of which there were many. Some Society Hill residents did express concern and fear about the impact of the bike lanes on their neighborhood.

The Mayor's Office of Transportation is treating this project as a "pilot", in that they will test out the bike lanes and see what works and what doesn't, and then address them. The approach they are taking should be able to deal with the parking and congestion issues that some neighbors are concerned about.

To keep up the momentum, we urge supporters of these bike lanes to take a few minutes and send a personal email to City Council President Anna Verna, Councilman Frank DiCicco and all 7 At-Large Council members. They need to hear that there is strong public support for these lanes and this pilot project. Send an email now (it will go to all recipients listed above) using your own words about why you want these bike lanes.
Protected and connected bike lanes are what Philadelphia needs to convince more people to use a bike instead of a car for short trips. These lanes are important for the all of Philadephia and it should be good for neighborhoods as well.


sarah said...

From another Sarah:

I was impressed with the meeting, a good turnout and good questions from many viewpoints. I especially enjoyed the applause echoing the sentiment of a rather vocal attendee who called out another rather vocal attendee when the latter justified that she regularly does not stop at redlights and stop signs on her bike. This followed a previous question about allowing vehicular right turns from the designated bike lane. Someone rightly pointed out that pedestrians in crosswalks are more concerned from bikers than vehicles, implying that bikers ignore the redlight and proceed through crosswalks, endangering those pedestrians who have the green light to proceed. Based on what I saw last night, this is not a random event. As I walked out of the Gershman Y and proceeded to cross Broad & Pine, a biker chose to ignore the redlight and came within inches of my husband and I while we were in the cross walk on a green light. I made a point of observing this on our walk home and watched it happen at least 7 times while walking north on Broad and then West on Walnut through 20th Street. Also, in that stretch we lost count how many bikers were on the sidewalks. It seems to me the message needs to get across to bikers that if they want respect from motorists and pedestrians they at least need obey the law and stop use the tired excuse that cars do it too.

Anonymous said...

Will Pine and Spruce be repaved east of Broad? They are practically unridable in their current condition.

Anonymous said...

I have to tell you that I agree completely about bicyclists needing to a MUCH better job of at least attempting to follow traffic rules and safety common sense. I am a DAILY bicyclist, and generally abide by traffic rules. Whenever I see a bicyclists fly through a red light, it gives all of us relatively law-abiding bicyclists a bad name. So, come on bikers, let's get better about this!

Sarah C. Stuart said...

The Bicycle Coalition urges all bicyclists to obey the rules of the road. Consider taking the I Bike PHL Pledge at

Taggart said...

Yes bikers need to obey the rules, and it scares pedestriations, but all these people forget that cars break the rules just as often. And when they do that, it puts bikers and pedestrians in much greater danger than when bikers break the rules. Cars are faster, heavier, and easier to talk/text on the phone while operating. They are more dangerous by design, and certainly by operation.

Having just gotten hit by a car last night, I think I know what I'm talking about. The story: a street sweeper pulled out into the travel lane I was in without looking (he was already half in the parking lane and half in the bike lane), forcing me to the left to avoid him, only to be scraped along my left side pretty badly by the law abiding (though quick to flee the scene) citizen driving to my left. The street sweeper was stopped by the way, and not driving; and of course the pull out was not indicated by a left hand turn signal. The street sweeper didn't wait to see if the accident he caused was fine. And the citizen barely hung around long enough to make sure I was ok, once she saw I didn't need to go to the hospital, (just scrapes and what wil be bruises) she split too, even though I asked her to wait around.

It was close. Three more inches to the left, and it would've been nasty.

Then of course, pulling up to an intersection 10 minutes later, hitting it second, after one car but before another, the second car tries to go before me, breaking the law as well, and I almost get hit again. I should have just given up and been biking on the sidewalk, right? No, cause I'd rather stay away from pedestrians (whom I respect and cherish as a urban dweller) and chance it with the cars. If only they would follow the law....

Cars are the real danger.

John said...

A big thank-you to Sarah and the Bike Coalition for their leadership on this wonderful inittiative.

One big question is how the new lanes will be enforced. In Philadelphia, most bike lanes carry as many cars as bikes. In some (as on Chestnut Street), unlawful users greatly outnumber cyclists. How will these new lanes be any different?

Lucas said...

I'm wondering if anyone knows about the existence of any special parking rules for the Pine and Spruce St. bike lanes (which are in general a wonderful idea!). I live on Pine, and when coming home tonight, I was forced out of the bike lane by a solid line of parked cars occupying it between about 19th and 16th (and not for the first time...). There are very clear signs posted saying "no parking at any tiime"... so is there some exception to this seemingly unambiguous rule, or should all those cars be towed?