Monday, November 07, 2011

Support Bike Lanes By Shopping Chinatown

And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth...
This Saturday was an important turning point in the ongoing conversation about bicycling's role in Philadelphia. On Saturday, the Streets Department laid down the 10th Street pilot bike lane between Spring Garden and Market Street. This finishes the 10th Street lane between Spring Garden and Lombard, giving bicyclists a much-needed southbound route through Center City.

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.


philadelphia bicycle journal said...

I agree and made the same statement 2 months earlier.

If your going to plagiarize someone else's solution make sure to acknowledge the source.

Peter said...

China town is where I doubt even timid bicyclists would need a bike lane. I started shopping there by bicycle decades ago because the automobile traffic is ridiculous and there is no parking. The traffic is so slow that almost any bicyclist would feel comfortable taking the lane and joinging the 5 mph traffic.

My problem in Chinatown is finding safe places to lock up my bike.

More interesting will be whether the police can keep people from using the bike lane for parking.

jbrug said...

fun fact = only one other city i can think of has a bike lane through the chinatown gate: Vancouver.

Tanya Seaman said...

I wanted to tell the restaurant servers that I'd arrived by bicycle, but they didn't speak enough English. :-(

Unknown said...

i hope some1 is coming to support the bikelane today at the hearing