|And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth...|
Why is Saturday important? Because there is now a bike lane through Chinatown. Until Saturday, there was only a plan for a bike lane through Chinatown. The difference? Real bike lanes generate data (imaginary bike lanes generate rage). The City will evaluate the lane over the next few months to determine its effectiveness as a bike route and its impact upon traffic flow.
What can you, Philadelphia bicyclists, do? You can show your support for such bike lanes by eating and shopping in Chinatown. The City will be watching for the hypothetical traffic disaster predicted by armchair traffic engineers, but Chinatown business owners will be studying numbers as well. Much of the opposition to the lane is based on the unfounded belief that removing a car lane is bad for business. Studies have found the opposite to be true. Should Chinatown businesses grow due to the bike lane, that will be an incredibly powerful motivator for future improvements in bicycling infrastructure.
Chinatown's many retail stores and (delicious) restaurants are just as easy to visit by bicycle as by car (probably easier). The neighborhood around Chinatown already has one of the highest bicycling rates in Philadelphia. We are optimistic. So patronize Chinatown by bicycle and prove that bicyclists are consumers not to be overlooked. The City just made it much more convenient for you to do so.