Thursday, November 08, 2012

Complete Streets Bill Coming Before Philly City Council Nov 15th

A bill with large ramifications for Philadelphia's streets will be discussed in City Council on November 15th. Bill #120532, aka the Complete Streets Bill for Philadelphia, will be introduced at a hearing of the Streets & Services Committee chaired by Councilman Mark Squilla.

We are very excited that this bill will finally have its chance to be voted out of committee and sent to full City Council. It is the result of a tremendous amount of work and discussion between Councilman Squilla, the Mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities, the Streets Department, and ourselves. The result is a series of amendments to the original bill which make it a big win for Philadelphia's ability to walk and bike safely.

What: Streets & Services Committee hearing on amendments to the Complete Streets Bill
When: Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm.
Where: City Council Chambers, 4th Floor

We applaud Councilman Squilla's leadership and initiative in creating one of the nation's strongest municipal complete streets policies. By improving streets, intersections, and sidewalks for walking, biking and driving, crashes will be reduced, lives will be saved, and more people will be encouraged to get out and get healthy.

The amendments to the bill accomplish two of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia's goals: make Philadelphia a safer place to bike by enacting a Complete Streets policy, and update the City's traffic rules for bicyclists.

What specifically will the amended bill do? See below:

Part 1: Complete Streets Policy mandated in the City's Code
Allegheny Avenue before a Complete Streets treatment

Allegheny Avenue after a Complete Streets treatment

  • Calls for the creation of a Complete Streets Handbook that all City and private sector transportation and development projects must adhere to. The Complete Streets Handbook puts in one place all of the criteria and policies that have been developed by the City’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan, Philadelphia 2035, the Zoning Code Commission Report, Greenworks Philadelphia, and the Green City, Clean Waters Plan. 
  • Delineates design treatments for eleven street types and requires city agencies to review all projects with a checklist to ensure that any project’s design has followed the Handbook. 
  • Requires checklists for all approved projects to be made available online within 60 days. 
Part 2: Updates Bicycle Regulations in the City's Traffic Code
  • Prohibits parking in bike lanes and provides for a $50 to $75 fine for violations. 
  • Makes opening a car door into traffic a city traffic code violation with the same penalty as under state law. 
  • Increases fines for all non-parking violations of bike rules (like sidewalk riding) from $3 to $75 unless there is a higher state penalty for the same violation.
  • Allows cyclists to ride two abreast (current Philadelphia law requires single file riding). 
  • Eliminates the “mandatory side path rule” which prohibits riding in the street if there is an off-road sidepath available to bicycles. 
  • Permits bike parking on sidewalks or streets in designated areas (such as bike corrals). 
Please come to the hearing and show your support for this bill and amendments!


andrewlevitt said...

Do I understand correctly that it actually prohibits stopping, standing, AND parking in a bike lane? Meaning no more [legal] loading zones in the Spruce/Pine/10th/13th bike lanes? That's wonderful! Any plans to add loading zones to those areas so delivery trucks can reasonably follow the new law?

Anonymous said...

To add to andrewlevitts comment, I would also like to see delivery trucks no longer stopping in the bike lanes. However, I do believe that we should accommodate them in some way then. Otherwise, theyre not going to be able to effectively do their jobs or will just illegally park in some other area. I see this as the largest problem. Perhaps allowing only delivery trucks/commerical to unload in the lanes? Or reserve a few spots near intersections so they can easily park and don't have to parallel park which would hold up traffic. Just a thought and I don't really see any way around this one. I see it being a major issue for the passage of the bill. We must be empathetic to those trying to do their jobs.