Thursday, November 03, 2011

Philadelphia Councilman Bill Greenlee's Response to Our Bicycling Questionnaire

Here are Philadelphia City Councilman Bill Greenlee's responses to our bicycling-issues questionnaire. His answers are underlined.

1. Would you supportthe installation of innovative infrastructure such as buffered bike lanes, likethose on Spruce and Pine, on a select number of streets to create a citywidebicycle network that is safe and inviting to ride for those from age 8 to 80?
The Bicycle Coalition has documentedincreases in bicycling significantly when buffered bike lanes were installed onSpruce, Pine, 13th and 10th Streets. In addition, sidewalk riding and wrong wayriding decreased. Buffered bike lanes onSpruce and Pine have also calmed traffic, reducing significant crashes by 45%.

I support bike lanes when they are safe and where communities are directly involved in the process. I believe there are streets where bike lanes are not safe for bikers, pedestrians and drivers. For example, at least part of 10th Street (in Chinatown) would appear not to be safe for such lanes.

2. Would you support reforming theCity's Traffic code to make it conform with state traffic laws and nationalbest practices regarding bicyclists?
Several sections of the City’sTraffic Code are out of date and do not comply with state traffic laws. Theyinclude a prohibition of bicycles in the street if there is a sidepathavailable, a prohibition of two people riding abreast, and no languageprotecting cyclists if hit by a car door that is opened in the travel lane.

I would be willing to discuss the changes in the traffic code to conform to state law where necessary.

3. Would you support the City ofPhiladelphia issuing a Request for Proposals for a Public Bike Share systemwithin the first year of your term?
Many other east coast cities haveeither started, signed contracts or issued Request for Proposals (RFPs) forpublic bike share programs, including New York City, Washington DC, Baltimoreand Boston. The City of Philadelphia could issue a RFP to invite bikeshare operators to propose how they would finance and operate a bike sharesystem in Philly.

I support the bike share program and would support the city issuing an RFP for a bike operator for a bike share program in Philadelphia.

4. Would you support creating a Task Force to review theCity's annual resurfacing and paving plans to identify opportunities to makeimprovements for bicyclists, pedestrians and transit riders?
The City’s annual resurfacingprogram is the best opportunity to install new bike lanes and other treatmentsto make streets complete and safer for all users. The Pedestrian/Bicycle Plan recommends reconveningthe Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Task Force to monitor progress on theimplementation of physical improvements to city streets and sidewalks.

I would support the creation of a task force where affected communities members would serve and be engaged in the process In addition to the “experts” to determine the safety of such resurfacing and paving plans.

5. Would you support increasing the Streets Department’sbudget in order to add engineering staff to make our streets safer for allusers and more convenient for bicyclists, pedestrians and transit riders?
The Transportation EngineeringDivision of the Streets Department has suffered considerable budget cuts andloss of staff over the past fifteen years. Additional engineering resources are needed to develop plans to conducttraffic studies and design innovative bicycle and pedestrian facilities forPhiladelphia’s streets.

I would not commit to supporting increased funding for any departmental budget under the present economic climate until we look at the city budget as a whole.

6. Would you support installation of more red light cameras to increasesafety at more intersections in Philadelphia?

I support more red light camera where appropriate and if the funding is available. I believe bicyclist should also abide by red light regulations.

7. Wouldyou support all-day closures of Martin Luther King Drive to through traffic,while continuing to allow auto access to the upper drive parking areas?
Theopening of the Schuylkill Trail from Locust Street to Martin Luther King(formerly West River) Drive has created a new and unique opportunity to makethe west bank of the Schuylkill River a six-mile recreation corridor onweekends between April and October. Tragically, the decision made in 1997 tore-open the lower half of the road to automotive traffic after Noon hasresulted in a number of crashes at Sweet Briar Road. A five-year-old child waskilled in 2006 when a reckless driver sped through the gate at Sweet Briar.Closing the gate at the Art Museum from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. would ensure that atleast one portion of the park’s road system is reserved for recreation onweekends.

I am open to discussing the pros and cons of extending MLK Drive closures.