Monday, September 26, 2011

Station Square Project Leaves Out Bicycle Transportation

How did it happen? Located between the University of Pennsylvania and Center City, the Station Square project (subject to renaming by UCD's contest) is transforming a parking area into public space in front of 30th Street Station. Great attention to detail was put in to encourage pedestrian traffic. But when it came to addressing the needs of bicyclists, Station Square fails to meet even the most basic needs of cyclists, such as the need for a low stress bike route around chaotic train station and additional bicycle parking.

The picture below shows the improvements being made; the plan was greatly scaled down due to the of unwillingness of state and local transportation officials to consider effective traffic calming on Market Street. Crossing the street will not be much easier than it is today, still Station Square offers new public space in an area starved for it.

But the lack of consideration for bikes is troubling. It will still be difficult to enter 30th Station from Market Street going westbound; you'll have to navigate through car traffic that is struggling to get onto the 76 and 676 ramps. (A bike signal would help give bikes a few seconds lead time). The new contraflow lane on S 30th St offered the promise of good access from Walnut and Chestnut Streets, unfortunately northbound cyclists who arrive at Market St have no legal way to cross it to access 30th Station's entrances.

The lack of consideration is not exclusive this project; walk your bike seems to be the trend in urban public right of ways such as the new Penn Park (on the bridge ramps.) Station Square leaves plenty of leeway of motor vehicles and a few design touches would have made this space a safe bikeway and bike parking location that wouldn't interfere with the pedestrian plaza feel of the site.


Anonymous said...

It's entirely unsurprising that spending astronomical amounts of money to plant several trees in the middle of a highway is cutting-edge American urban planning.

Anonymous said...

This is so disappointing. I had really been looking forward to the improvements in greening in the section of urban jungle in between West Philadelphia and Center City, but Penn Park (while great in many ways) and this planned Station Square just don't seem to be meeting the needs of cyclists. I wonder if anyone did studies to count the number of cyclists who cross back and forth from the bike path and Center City into West Philadelphia each day. The numbers are huge, and it is so important to keep these numbers up and rising and keep these cyclists safe...But then, I'm preaching to the choir here.