Promoting bicycling as a healthy, low-cost, and environmentally-friendly form of transportation and recreation.

MLK Drive Crosswalk Crash: Action to Make MLK Drive Safer for Park Users

BICYCLE COALITION OF GREATER PHILADELPHIA
Press Release
May 26, 2009
For Immediate Release
Contact: Alex Doty, Executive Director
215-239-4749 (m)
alex@bicyclecoalition.org
MLK Crosswalk Crash
Action Every Day This Week to Make MLK Drive Safer for Park Users
Last Thursday morning a father and his 4-year-old son on a bicycle and "tag-along" were struck and critically injured by a car when crossing MLK Drive at the mid-block crosswalk below the Art Museum. This horrible crash is the latest example of the dangers of a beautiful park road that 2008 Annual Meetinghas been allowed to become a throughway.

Bicycle Ambassador Coordinator Breen Goodwin was biking to work on Thursday and witnessed the scene only moments after the crash happened. "Stopping for people in a crosswalk is not just common decency, it is state law. A family crossing the street in a crosswalk -- in a park -- should feel safe. Unfortunately, that is not the case on MLK Drive."

To improve safety in the short-term, the Bicycle Ambassadors will be on location at the crosswalk every day this week reminding vehicles of the state law requiring vehicles to yield to pedestrians within a crosswalk. The Bicycle Ambassadors will be on location:
  • Tuesday, 7:30 to 9:30 am
  • Wednesday, 4:00 to 6:00 pm
  • Thursday, 7:30 to 9:30 am
  • Friday, 4:00 to 6:00 pm
MLK Drive is a park road running through the gem of Philadelphia's park system that has become a throughway. A road designed for cars has lead to:
  • Excessive speeding by motorists through a recreation area
  • Lack of traffic calming measures at the mid-block crossing
  • Narrowing of the "trail" to less than five feet crossing the MLK Bridge
The Bicycle Coalition is calling for additional measures to make MLK Drive safe for park users:
  • Traffic calm MLK Drive by reducing it to one lane, inbound and outbound, for the entire length
  • Install bike lanes to further calm traffic, allow for unimpeded two-way trail traffic across the MLK Bridge and make the trail safer by allowing faster bicyclists to ride on the street
  • Close the entire length of MLK Drive for recreational use on Saturday and Sunday from dawn to dusk and therefore avoid conflicts with cars at the crossing during peak trail use times
There are additional steps that can be taken to improve the MLK crosswalk immediately:
  • At the outbound entrance ramp from Eakins Oval, narrow the travel lane 
  • Put out "yield to pedestrian" silent policeman signs in the crossing
  • Install soft rumble strips approaching each crosswalk
  • Install yield bars in front of each crosswalk
  • Install User Activated Pedestrian Flashing Warning Beacons
  • Install "Your Speed" Driver Feedback Signs on MLK Drive
About the Bicycle Ambassadors Program

Who are we?

The Bicycle Ambassadors are a team of adult safety educators working to make bicycling better in the City of Philadelphia. The Bicycle Ambassadors are an education and outreach program of The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia sponsored by The City of Philadelphia, University City District and Fairmount Park.  Ambassadors work in teams and travel to each event by bicycle (many times with trailers full of information in tow).  Our full time Bicycle Ambassadors work from May through September.

What do we do?
Bicycle Ambassadors encourage adult bicyclists to ride more often and ride more safely as well as educate motorists on the rules of the road and provide tips for sharing the road. Ambassadors attend community events as well as create our own events to teach bike safety, sharing the road, bike lane and bike path etiquette and how to bike to work and school. Our message is conveyed through face-to-face interaction allowing for an organic conversation targeting the specific interests, questions and needs of each individual.  We work in the neighborhoods of Center City, University City and Fairmount Park.
Bicycle Coalition of Greater PhiladelphiaThe Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is a 1,600-member organization that makes bicycling better by promoting the bicycle as a healthy, low-cost and environmentally friendly form of transportation and recreation.
 
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