Friday, November 16, 2012

Philly's Complete Streets Bill Passes Out Of City Council Committee

Yesterday the Streets and Services Committee of Philadelphia City Council approved the Complete Streets Bill sponsored by Councilman Mark Squilla.

This will bring significant improvements to Philly's streets. The bill's seemingly dry, technical changes to the traffic and zoning codes will make our streets safer for all types of users. We believe this bill will give Philadelphia one of the most enforceable municipal Complete Streets policies in the nation.

You can read more about "Complete Streets" and what the bill will do here and here.

Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler, our own Alex Doty, Andrew Sharp from PennFuture, and Jenny Robinson from AAA Mid-Atlantic all testified in support of the legislation.

Rina Culter articulated her office's support for the bill in terms of the city's changing demographics. Philadelphia's rising populations of older residents and the 20-34 age group have different transportation needs than the era when "everyone had a car and used it for the shortest trips." The bill will help the city address those needs by requiring projects to answer the question, "Do these changes make it easier and safer for Philadelphians to travel?"

The hearing also foreshadowed other bicycle-related issues which Council might take an interest in. An exchange between Alex Doty and Councilwoman Maria QuiƱones-Sanchez raised the issue of restaurant workers and delivery bicyclists, and the need for education and enforcement to get them off the sidewalks.

The bill attracted significant media attention. Here is some of the coverage of the bill from the past few days:

Once again we want to thank Councilman Mark Squilla for spearheading the effort to get this bill through committee. We also want to thank our members, whose support enables us to put in the long hours of work that bring the interests of bicyclists and pedestrians to the table. This bill, which we expect will be passed by City Council in the next month, is a model example of cooperative legislation and one which will make long-lasting improvements to the safety and livability of Philadelphia's streets and sidewalks.