Friday, February 03, 2012

South Philly Safe Street Design Meeting Recap (with new SimCity reference)

We had an excellent turnout on Wednesday for the Safe Streets for Healthy Neighborhoods meeting. Thank you to everyone who showed up to see what the Community Design Collaborative design team has come up with to transform South Philly streets. They will now head back to their floating cities (or converted lofts, or wherever urban planners work their magic) to work on the final conceptual plans.
Artist's rendering of where artist's renderings are made
Missed the meeting? We've got a summary for you below, along with minutes from the meeting and slides showing the two designs presented.

Stay tuned to this space for future updates on this project, and the date and time of April's meeting to reveal the final plans.

Meeting Summary
As part of the Safe Streets for Healthy Neighborhoods initiative the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (BCGP) is exploring the concept of bicycle priority streets in South Philadelphia. On Wednesday, February 1st, thirty-five people met at the Guerin Recreation Center for the second public meeting regarding the South Street for Healthy Neighborhoods project in South Philadelphia.

BCGP received a service grant from the Community Design Collaborative (CDesignC) providing a Design Team comprised of four design professionals with expertise in bicycle infrastructure design. On Wednesday, BCGP and the CDesignC Design Team presented preliminary conceptual designs for bicycle priority streets on 15th, 13th and 10th Streets from South Street to Oregon Avenue, based in part on input from a previous public meeting in November. (The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission is working on a project that will address bicycle circulation south of Oregon Avenue.)

The challenge of this project is how to create bicycle friendly streets in the dense residential neighborhoods that characterize most of South Philadelphia. There is no extra space for bike lanes. What improvements can be implemented that will make the corridor safer for pedestrians, cyclists and transit users while improving the quality of life for residents and visitors to the neighborhood?

During the course of the meeting a graphic-rich Powerpoint presentation covered the following topics:
  • Recent increase in cycling in Philadelphia and the implications for bicycle infrastructure 
  • Lessons learned from past bicycling infrastructure improvements
    • Bike lanes improve travel experience for all users while reducing accidents 
    • Latent demand is strong for bicycle infrastructure 
  • Examples of bicycling infrastructure improvements from other North American cities and Europe
  • Selection of the Broad Street corridor (15th, 13th & 10th Streets) 
  • A Quickstart Conceptual Plan (ie, Phase 1) for the corridor that creates a bike priority street with low capital investment 
  • A Complete Streets Plan (ie, Phase 2) that is a vision for future, more capital intensive improvements 
Following the presentation the group split into smaller groups for facilitated discussion. In the final wrap-up each group reported a summary of their discussion. BCGP emphasized that the conceptual plans are a first step in a longer process. Individuals interested in seeing these plans come to fruition are encouraged to talk to their neighbors and their Councilperson to let them know they support more bicycle and pedestrian friendly streets in their neighborhood.

Final conceptual plans will be presented at a public meeting in April 2012.

Documents from the meeting
Quickstart Conceptual Plan (ie, Phase 1)

Complete Streets Plan (ie, Phase 2)

Meeting minutes

Photos from the meeting