At the Streets and Services Committee hearing today, Councilman Greenlee made two key amendments to his bill for approving bike lanes. One narrows the requirement for Council approval to only bike lanes that require removal of a travel lane or a parking lane. The second amendment provides for the installation of pilots before a Council ordinance.
The process for installing a bike lane that requires removal of a traffic lane will now be a public outreach process followed by the installation of a pilot. Within eight months of installing the pilot, City Council must pass an ordinance approving the bike lane or the bike lane will be removed. This is the same process that is used when Streets proposes reversing the direction of a street.
We do not think it should be necessary to pass a bill in order to install something that dramatically improves safety for all street users. But given the popularity of Philadelphia's existing bike lanes and their documented role in reducing motor vehicle crashes, we believe that a pilot period will demonstrate the utility of new bike lanes.
Councilman Squilla also announced at the hearing his intention to introduce legislation, based on recommendations made by the Bicycle Coalition, that will codify the city's Complete Streets policy and amend Philadelphia's traffic code to explicitly ban dooring, parking in bike lanes, and several other fixes that will bring our traffic code in line with national best practices for bicyclists.
Thank you to all the bicyclists and engaged citizens who took time from their days to attend today's hearing and to contact City Council. Your involvement is critical to keeping Philadelphia on track in the process of making our streets safer for all users.