Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bike Lane Ordinance Bill Is Fast Tracked! Bike Lane Supporters at Council Hearing Needed!

Councilmen Greenlee, DiCicco and Clarke's bike lane ordinance bill is on the Streets and Services Committee agenda for its Thursday, June 2nd, 2pm hearing.  The Committee is scheduled to vote on the bill that day.

We need as many bike lane supporters who oppose this bill to come to the Thursday 6/2 hearing and testify! It's extremely important for the Committee members to understand where the public is on this bill. 

The City Planning Commission spent two years developing a Pedestrian/Bicycle Plan through public meetings, surveys and online outreach. That plan has a map recommending where bike lanes should go. City Council was invited to be part of that planning process. Now that the City's Streets Department is beginning to implement the plan by installing bike lanes, as it has for 13 years without issues, Councilman Greenlee, DiCicco and Clarke are suddenly proposing that an ordinance (a legislative bill) be passed for every street that the Streets Department has decided is due to receive a bike lane. 

Why is this bike lane ordinance bill wrong for Philadelphia?
  • Bike lanes don't respect political boundaries, such as Councilmatic Districts.  A requirement for an ordinance could undermine the City's effort to create a complete bikeway network throughout the entire City.&nbsProxy-Connection: keep-alive Cache-Control: max-age=0 3B If a Councilmember decides not to introduce an ordinance, the result would be a patchwork of bike lanes in some districts and not in others.
  • It will delay making our streets safer.  Council ordinances take at least one month to six weeks to get through.  Motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists have all benefited from the 46% reduction in serious car crashes on Spruce and Pine streets since the new bike lanes were installed.
  • It singles out bike lanes over many other ways that the City refashions its streets over time.  No City Council approval is needed for new vehicular travel lanes.  Why are  bike lanes being singled out for an ordinance and travel lanes for cars are not?
  • It prevents traffic engineers at the Streets Department from doing their job.  Bike lanes installed as pilot projects will require review by City Council before the Streets Department can move the lanes to another street if that is what is recommended by their traffic engineers.
  • The public are consulted when travel lanes are removed.  If the Streets Department decides, based on traffic analysis, that it wants to take out a travel lane, it consults with district council members and their staff, civic groups and business groups. 

Philadelphia is the #1 city for bike commuting; why should it become the #1 city for bike lane bureaucracy?

Please spread the word about the need for bike lane supporters to come to the June 2nd hearing at 2pm at City Council Chambers, 4th Floor. You can testify or simply attend to show your opposition to this bill.


Fritz said...

How can they vote on this when the reserved section still hasn't been filled it? Or do they plan on leaving it blank and not adding any lanes from the bike plan to the bill so that EVERY lane has to get approval.

Benjamin Duffy said...

If there is one nice thing about this bill, it's that any bicycle + car accidents that happen on a road where a bike lane was rejected can be blamed on the councilmembers who rejected it, and hopefully in lots of TV ads around election time.

Sarah C. Stuart said...

I think the author's expectation is that they will fill the reserved section street by street as individual ordinances get introduced. In other words, EVERY bike lanes, street by street would have to get approval.

steveeboy said...

so, I just called greenlee's office and ended up in a 20 minute argument with the woman who is his legislative director.
tried to voice my opposition to the legislation only to be told that "you must not be from philadelphia" and that "as soon as you have kids you are going to leave the city anyway."

Friendship_Henry said...

I talked to the same woman, and I do live in Philadelphia. She said "Im sorry to disagree" and "City Council just wants to be involved in the process" What she didnt say was "City council wants CONTROL of this process, even though weve had a seat at the table from the very begining."
This bill makes me so mad. There are so many thing council should be working on, like creating a land bank, but instead of getting things done, theyre trying to slow down things that are getting done without them!

Anonymous said...

Calling Greenlee's office is useless, he is the bills primary sponsor> Nothing you say to him or his staff is going to change anything. Your better off directing phone calls and e-mails to council members who have nothing to do with it. They might actually listen.