JUNE 2, 2011. PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA. The Philadelphia City Council's Streets & Services Committee will be considering legislation today that would require City Council approval for any new bike lane installed in Philadelphia. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is opposed to this bill and will testify against the bill at the Thursday hearing.
"We are opposed to this bill, as we believe it is unnecessary and harmful for the city," said Sarah Clark Stuart, the Bicycle Coalition's Campaign Director. "The method proposed for Council oversight, requiring an ordinance for every new bike lane, will lead to delays in implementing needed safety improvements which that all road users."
Councilman Greenlee's bill, co-sponsored by Councilmen DiCicco and Clarke, will mire future bicycle lanes in an unnecessary extra layer of bureaucracy. The Bicycle Coalition opposes the bill because:
- Bike lanes cross Councilmatic Districts. Requiring Councilmembers to introduce ordinances in his or her district could lead to an unconnected patchwork of bike lanes.
- Bike lanes make roads safer for drivers, bikers, and pedestrians. Spruce and Pine Streets saw a 46% decrease in serious car crashes after buffered bike lanes were installed. Delaying bike lanes is a safety hazard.
- The City Planning Commission spent two years developing a 10 year Pedestrian/Bicycle Master Plan, a public process in which City Council was invited to participate. Now that the City's Streets Department is beginning to implement that plan, Councilmen Greenlee, DiCicco, and Clarke suddenly propose a bill that will slow down the Streets Department from doing its job.
- It singles out bike lanes for a higher level of Council oversight than what is required for motor vehicle lanes and discriminates against bicyclists who are legal users of the public right of way.
- It could cause delay and increased costs of road resurfacing projects, when most bike lanes are incorporated into streets.
Council's Streets and Services Committee is holding its hearing on Thursday, June 2nd at 2:00 pm in the City Council Chambers, 4th Floor of City Hall.