Bicycle Coalition 2018: Better Connections, More Wins
Throughout 2018, the Bicycle Coalition expanded upon its role as a regional leader in road safety advocacy with a series of policy and infrastructure wins that are helping bring the Greater Philadelphia Region into the 21st Century, making the city and the surrounding suburbs more bikeable, and safer for everyone using the roads.
But unlike past years, where we advocated for our position in public and in meetings with the city and representatives, the Bicycle Coalition and our partners began taking some of the same priorities we’ve always fought for — bike lanes, better trails, education, clear streets — into our own hands.
The stakes of our work are higher than ever because more people are riding bicycles in our region. Their safety is a more pressing issue as a result.
Bicycles and other forms of alternative transportation are quickly becoming the norm for getting around increasingly-congested cities around the country, and it’s up to us to make sure everyone can do so safely and with minimal stress.
So, we used every (sh)arrow in our arsenal to make the Greater Philadelphia area a better, safer, more educated place, working with everyone from concerned citizens to political action committees, to professional lobbyists, to lawyers, to teachers, to to make our agenda a reality.
Here is a brief rundown of what the Bicycle Coalition was up to throughout 2018:
Our Newest Program: Technical Assistance for Suburban Circuit Communities
Bicycle Coalition Suburban Regional Planner Leonard Bonarek hit the ground running in 2018. After the Bicycle Coalition helped get the Bicycle Occupancy Permit law overturned in 2017, we began working directly with bike groups and advocates throughout the 9-county region to better access to bicycle infrastructure.
This strategic effort is being established to aid suburban local activists and decision-makers who want to connect their community to The Circuit, our region’s 800+ mile network of multi-use trails.
When The Circuit is complete, it will connect to communities all over our 9-county region. As extensive as it will be, most townships and boroughs will still lack safe routes connecting their residents to Circuit Trails.
The TASCC program seeks to remedy this situation by providing technical assistance to local communities so that they can identify “low stress connections” to the nearest Circuit segment. These interventions can vary from something as simple as signing and mapping an existing connection via side roads to more complex interventions involving bike/ped infrastructure improvements to key roadways and intersections.
A Renewed Push for Sideguards on City and Private Trucks
Following the tragic crash that took the life of Emily Fredricks in November 2017, we explored the idea of requiring large trucks to install side guards and convex mirrors to prevent people on foot or bicycle from being caught in the undercarriage of those vehicles.
As part of our 7 Demands to the City of Philadelphia, we noted side guards should be required for all large trucks using city streets. In their response, the City sort of shrugged at the idea of requiring all trucks to use side guards. So, we began looking into how other cities — specifically Boston and Chicago — wrote their side guard legislation, for insight on how Philadelphia could do it.
The advocacy for safer trucks operating in the city would prove fruitful throughout the year.
A Safer Roosevelt Boulevard
The Philadelphia Vision Zero Alliance, consisting of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance, AARP, AAA, 5th Square, and others, hosted an informational breakfast with Pennsylvania Rep. John Taylor, to discuss ways to make Roosevelt Boulevard a better, safer place to travel.
This policy breakfast basically kicked off a successful year of advocacy for Roosevelt Boulevard.
At our first Roosevelt Bouelvard event of the year, Rep. Taylor, Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Sarah Clark Stuart and Latanya Byrd, the family member of a Roosevelt Boulevard casualty, discussed the most-recent incarnation of the auto-enforcement bill, Senate Bill 172, at the event.
Through advocacy and education, the Bicycle Coalition leads the movement to make bicycling a safe and fun way to get around for anyone in Greater Philadelphia. We’re a member-funded organization, and we can’t advocate for building out the region’s bicycle network without your support. Join or donate today to partner with us and make your ride better.
Partnering For Hyperlocal Changes
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and Philadelphia 3.0 co-hosted a meeting to discuss the history of “bike politics” in Philadelphia and what private citizens can do in their communities to make changes. The event was free and open to the public.
About 20 people came to listen to Sarah Clark Stuart from the Bicycle Coalition talk about many of the details and efforts that have led to successes and failures in Philly bike infrastructure and laws. After Stuart, Jon Geeting of Philadelphia 3.0 explained to the audience how those in attendance can get involved in their local community organizations and run for office as a committeeperson.
Remembering Everyone Killed in Traffic Crashes
The first pedestrian killed on Roosevelt Boulevard in 2018 was 21-year-old Danielle Gabay. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia met the Gabay family on Roosevelt Boulevard in Northeast Philadelphia for a memorial shortly afterwards.
At that memorial, we posted a sign to denote a pedestrian had been killed at that spot as a way to raise greater awareness for pedestrian safety in Philadelphia.
We posted one of those signs at every spot where a pedestrian was killed throughout 2018.
As national media organization Streetsblog reported the same day as our first memorial, in a story called “Philadelphia’s Boulevard of Death”,
Roosevelt is a death trap. At 12 lanes wide, it’s basically an at-grade highway through densely populated city neighborhoods. Every year, there are about 700 crashes and 10 traffic fatalities on this single street. At Roosevelt and Large, the site of the fatal crash last week, two sisters were killed in a collision just a year ago.
More than 10 percent of all of Philadelphia’s road fatalities happen on the Boulevard, even though it represents just 0.6 percent of city street. The speed is 45 miles per hour, but that is largely ignored, and every year, we have the unfortunate statistics to prove it.
Speed cameras have been proven to reduce crashes along corridors like Roosevelt Boulevard, and, even when there are crashes, reduced speed often lessens the severity of the crash.
Among those who joined the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and the Gabay Family were former Coalition intern/current Cycles PHL staff member Travis Southard, and State Rep. Jared Solomon.
New Paving Crew
It’s hard for Philadelphia — or, any city — to install better, safer infrastructure if you don’t have the physical workers to do so. That’s why we spent years advocating for a second paving crew in Philly. And in February, the city announced they’d done it.
As reported by the Bicycle Coalition back in 2014, Philadelphia’s street paving is backlogged to the point of sad hilarity. Back then, we found the city had a paving backup of more than 900 miles and would need to pave 130 miles of streets just to break even with what needs maintenance.
Since then, the city has not yet gotten to 130 miles, though paving has increased. One of the problems is that the city has, until now, only had a single paving crew to get the job done. That’s not enough.
And so, in February, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced that the city had hired a new paving crew to take on more streets.
Ben Franklin Bridge Construction FINALLY BEGINS
On February 22nd the Delaware River Port Authority announced the closure of the South walkway, for the construction of an ADA Accessible ramp on the Ben Franklin Bridge in Camden, NJ. The new ramp is expected to completed in the Spring or Summer of 2019. The north walkway continues to be open for bicycle and pedestrian traffic.
New Funding for Schuylkill River Trail
Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey announced that the Trump Administration had approved a $12 Million TIGER grant for the Christian to Crescent Connector.
This bridge-like structure that will hug the eastern side of the Schuylkill River and connect the Schuylkill Banks trail that currently ends in the vicinity of Christian Street all the way to the Gray’s Ferry Crescent trail and park.
Mayor Announces Protected Bike Lane Project at BCGP Vision Zero Conference
Mayor Jim Kenney made news at the 2018 Vision Zero Philadelphia Conference on Saturday morning, when he announced a new bike lane pilot project through JFK and Market Streets in Center City, Philadelphia.
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia had long advocated for these bike lanes, noting they will not only help cyclists commute to their jobs, school, or wherever they need to go in Center City, but will also help calm traffic.
Market Street in Center City is along Philadelphia’s high-injury network, and has long needed calming. The protected bike lane will help make the street safer by slowing down motor vehicles and shortening pedestrian crossing distances across Market and JFK.
The Bicycle Coalition advocated for these lanes for a long time. We put out surveys, spoken to pedestrians and drivers, led protests, met with politicians and other officials, and written about it, over and over again. JFK and Market are part of the Bicycle Coalition’s Hub and Spoke campaign, too.
New Bike Lanes Approved in Callowhill, West Philadelphia
During a meeting of the Streets and Services Committee in Philadelphia City Council, Bicycle Coalition policy coordinator Bob Previdi spoke in favor of bills which would create new bike lanes on Lansdowne Drive and Parkside Avenue in West Philadelphia, and Race Street in the Callowhill section of the city.
We have written about all these bills in the past. Here is PlanPhilly’s story about the Lansdowne lane.
The sponsor of the bills to create new lanes on Parkside and Lansdowne in West Philadelphia, Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr., noted he recently rode his bicycle on Parkside Avenue and understood the need for better protection on that stretch of road.
Spruce and Pine Changes
After years of conflicts about improving the highly-used bike lanes along Spruce and Pine Streets in Center City, the City finally unveiled plans for those streets at a series of public meetings.
The first meeting opened with a human-protected bike lane along Spruce Street for cyclists to show support for safer, better infrastructure, and proceeded with a well-organized, informative meeting.
The biggest proposed change to Spruce and Pine was a planned switch of the bike lane from the right to the left.
We support this particular change because, as shown in these series of researched points, left-side bike lanes provide better vision for drivers and could result in fewer angle crashes — which happen to be the most prevalent crashes on these particular streets. But the other proposed change, which we believe is more important than the switch, is physical protection at the intersections.
Those changes were approved later, in April, for between 2nd and 22nd Streets. 2019 will prove whether or not those changes — half measures, considering what needs to be done to make these streets safer, long term — make a difference.
New Program to Assist Families With Bicycling Gear
Members of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia gathered at Southwark School in South Philadelphia for Equipando Familias en Bicicleta, a new family bicycling rental program funded by PECO.
The program is meant to help families who want to ride together in a safe, and fun way.
“The program helps moms and dads who are in need of assistance for bicycle equipment,” says Brenda Hernandez-Torres, the Bicycle Coalition’s Community Engagement and Partnership Coordinator. “The program will also have workshops and bike rides for families.”
Items such as bicycle seats for children, bike trailers and tagalong bikes have been provided throughout the year.
American Street Construction Begins
Work on the North American Streetscape Project, which includes roadway resurfacing, line striping and bike lanes, began in Spring 2018.
The project, once complete, will go from Girard to Indiana Streets. In addition to new protected bike lanes, the project includes the removal of unused trolley track infrastructure and the installation of ADA ramps.
Most of the corridor will feature raised bike lanes along the center of the street, though in the north section, between Huntingdon and Indiana Streets, the bike lane will be on the right side of traffic to make way for motor vehicle parking in the center.
The project is being funded by a TIGER grant and has been planned over several years.
While the project itself is a welcome improvement for this section of North Philadelphia and North Philadelphia, the plans are not without their flaws.
Center bike lanes, though protected, are not as efficient for getting cyclists through as protected lanes against the curb would have been. This is something we, and many advocates and volunteers, brought up at 2016 meetings at the Crane Arts Building on North American Street.
In April, our supporters helped us organize a pastry scavenger ride in memory of Emily Fredricks, the pastry chef who was killed riding her bike on Spruce Street on November 28th, 2017.
Dubbed ‘the Profiteroll’ by Cake Life’s Nima Entemadi, the self guided ride covered a baker’s dozen of pastry stations throughout the city including Hungry Pigeon, Parc,
The Tasty, Philly Style Bagels, Day by Day, and Vetri Cucina. We had over 75 cyclists register for the ride which ended with a post ride celebration at Johnny Brenda’s.
A tribute brunch was held the following week at Le Cheri, the Rittenhouse Square restaurant owned by chef Pierre Calmels where Emily worked.
All in all, our supporters engaged over 20 chefs and restaurants and raised over $10,000 in memory of Emily.
Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling Youth Fun Day
Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling — formerly Cadence Youth Cycling — is the Bicycle Coalition’s youth cycling program, fostering healthy habits and leadership among youth throughout Philadelphia. This year, we had more youth participate than ever before. And early this spring, our athletes competed in a scavenger hunt-style alley cat ride through Fairmount Park in April.
Each team had one hour to gear up and plan their route, then three hours to travel to each location on the hunt and complete a task.
The race ended with awards and a lunch party at Lemon Hill catered by team sponsor District Taco.
SUCCESS: Philadelphia Announces Sideguards on Trash Trucks
The City of Philadelphia announced it will begin requiring all new trash hauling trucks to undergo a series of safety improvements, including the installation of side guards.
As noted in a city press release:
Each new trash compactor truck purchased will be outfitted with four 360-degree cameras that provide truck operators a complete view of the area surrounding the vehicle while moving forward. When the truck is in reverse, the camera will project the area behind the truck. Similarly, putting on either turn signal will turn on the camera to show the side of the truck.
“Our goal is to fully modernize the trash compactor fleet — with these added safety features — in the next four to five years,” said Michael Carroll, Deputy Managing Director for the Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems. “Improvements to the compactor fleet will enable more trash and recycling to be picked up on time, enabling a cleaner Philadelphia.”
The Streets Department’s decision to require side guards on all their trucks moving forward didn’t come as a big surprise.
On December 1, 2017, just days after Philadelphia pastry chef Emily Fredricks was killed by the driver of a private trash hauler on Spruce Street in Center City, the Bicycle Coalition made seven safety demands we wanted to see enacted immediately. Among them: Side guards on all large public and private trucks in Philadelphia.
“Side guards are vehicle-based safety devices that physically cover the exposed space between front and rear wheels and keep pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists from being run over by a large truck’s rear wheels in a side-impact collision,” we wrote. “Chicago, Boston and New York City have adopted ordinances requiring the use of side guards.”
Another Big Trip to Harrisburg for Speed Cameras
Members of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Vision Zero Alliance, State. Rep. John Taylor and Philadelphia resident Latanya Byrd gathered in the East Wing of the state Capitol on Tuesday to call for increased pedestrian, bicyclist, and motorist safety on Pennsylvania roads.
Speaking from the state Capitol, Alliance members called upon the Pennsylvania state Legislature to pass several bills — especially, it was noted, Senate Bill 172, which would allow Philadelphia to implement proven safety measures along Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia.
Roosevelt Boulevard is Pennsylvania’s most dangerous road, accounting for 10–15 percent of all vehicular traffic deaths in Philadelphia, yearly.
Between 2013 and 2017, 63 people died on Roosevelt Boulevard, 27 of whom were pedestrians.
Roosevelt Boulevard passes through many different types of neighborhoods, from far Northeast Philadelphia, through North Philadelphia, to parts of Northwest Philadelphia, and the victims of the Boulevard represent every demographic of the city.
In attendance, and speaking in the Capitol was Latanya Byrd, whose niece, Samara Banks, and three of Banks four children, was killed on Roosevelt Boulevard by speeding drivers in 2013. Byrd has since become an advocate for a safer Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia. Her voice would prove vital to our work throughout the year.
Vision Zero And Equity: The First Philadelphia Analysis of its Kind
In an effort to better understand how Vision Zero intersects with race and poverty, the Bicycle Coalition undertook some geospatial analyses, digging deeper into the fact that 50 percent of traffic deaths and severe injuries occur on just 12 percent of city streets.
First, we identified Census Tracts where the percentage of residents living in poverty was greater than the overall percentage of Philadelphians living in poverty (25.9%). Next, we determined which of these Census Tracts have a higher percentage of nonwhite residents than Philadelphia as a whole (58.7%).
Though rudimentary, these indicators allow us to look at what, if any, connection there is between poverty, people of color, and the High Injury Network. Additional analysis that further breaks down race into specific categories could further illuminate those who are most impacted by traffic violence. The City of Austin conducted such an analysis in their action plan.
Our work revealed that while roughly 35% of Philadelphia’s street miles are located in these Census Tracts, this same geography accounts for almost 46% of the High Injury Network.
So, almost half (46%) of the High-Injury Network lies in impoverished communities of color.
We encourage the City to conduct further analysis of the High Injury Network as it relates to indicators of disadvantage, especially race, which is not addressed in the action plan at all; our analysis of race and the High Injury Network is narrow in scope and we know additional analyses are possible.
Looking to other large cities also highlights additional cross sectional analysis with High Injury Networks. Los Angeles used a Community Health and Equity Index; Chicago used a health hardship index and is working to analyze other social indicators including vacancy rates and gun violence; the City of Austin’s Vision Zero Action Plan has a whole section dedicated to exploring who is affected by traffic deaths and injuries, looking at mode share, racial groups and poverty.
JFK and Market Bike Lanes Installed
After seven years of advocacy, new protected bike lanes were installed on JFK and Market Streets in Center City. Getting to that point was a long, hard road, and we detailed the numerous years of advocacy, and the tragedy, that eventually led to the installation of these new lanes, on our blog.
Citizens Demand Wawa Keep Trucks Out of Bike Lane
Within the span of just a few months, cyclists fed up with a new Wawa at 22nd and South Streets allowing its customers and delivery drivers to park in the bike lane, got Wawa to take responsibility and install new bike infrastructure in front of its store.
The advocacy included a human protected bike lane action, threats of a lawsuit, and meetings with Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, who represents the area.
The Bicycle Coalition also started a petition which we gave to the City, the PPA, and the Wawa, which called upon all organizations to do the following:
Wawa should protect the lane with plastic bollards, signage, and direct customers out of the bike lane and into a legal parking spot.
The City of Philadelphia should create a Loading Zone on the west side of the street, so patrons have a place to park, and delivery trucks have a legal space to unload.
The Philadelphia Parking Authority needs to better enforce this corridor. A mere 34 tickets were handed out during the first five months of 2018 for motor vehicles parked in the bike lane at 22nd and South Streets — only two of which were given out in May. The PPA should up its enforcement at this intersection, deterring Wawa’s delivery truck drivers, and customers, from parking in front of the convenience store and endangering the lives of people on bicycles who use this street.
More than 500 of you signed the petition. The owner of the building where the new Wawa is located then paid for new flex posts in front of their building — but only there.
More needs to be done on 22nd Street, largely because people continue to park in the bike lane, outside the zone of the posts.
Ironically, this is proof that protected bike lanes work. Which is why the posts should stretch down the rest of the street.
As far as getting new loading zones installed, the Bicycle Coalition would lead the charge to incentivize businesses to install loading zones later in the year.
New, Safer Trash Trucks Unveiled
The city publicly unveiled new garbage trucks that have added Vision Zero protections, including night vision cameras, 360 degree cameras on each side of the truck, side guards, and side mirrors.
The Streets Department has been testing these truck safety enhancements over the last several months and will add these features to all new trucks purchased moving forward. Streets plans to purchase 34 trucks in fiscal year 2019, and currently has four trucks in operation with one or more of these added safety features. These safety improvements directly support the Fleet Management actions outlined in the Vision Zero Three-Year Action Plan.
We had called upon the City to add side guards to their trucks, and require all trucks to install them, as part of a Vision Zero policy. We are happy to see the city follow suit. But, as many already know, two cyclists have been killed over the last year by private trucks, and both may have survived if the trucks had been equipped with these safety precautions.
Marriott Gets Sued, Installs Posts to Protect Bike Lane
Since it opened in summer 2018, the new Fairfield Marriott hotel at 13th and Spruce Streets in Center City, Philadelphia, had been using the well-traveled 13th Street bike lane to help its customers unload their bags instead of the designated valet parking spot across the street from the hotel.
So, the hotel chain was sued for putting people’s lives in danger.
Lawyer Stuart Leon sued Marriott hotels on behalf of a cyclist for their inattentiveness and lack of enforcement of a bike lane and No Stopping Zone in front of their business. Parking motor vehicles in bike lanes puts cyclists, motorists and pedestrians at risk and it is up to the Fairfield Marriott Hotel to make sure they are not aiding in this added risk.
Marriott installed new posts later in the summer. The safety protections were welcome, but, like the posts installed in front of the Wawa, not enough to keep drivers from parking in the bike lane where the posts end.
We Analyzed Circuit Trails for Community Impact
Looking at issues like equity, length, population, and connectivity, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia recently analyzed coming-trail segments to better understand the impact these trails will have on citizens of the 9-county Greater Philadelphia Region.
This analysis helped us better understand where already-funded trails should be prioritized for building, and where residents are especially in need of new trails. Keep reading for information on this analysis, how it was conducted, and what it means for The Circuit Trails.
Youth Cycling’s Longest Sojourn Ever
From August 13th — 17th, the Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling (BCYC) All Star Tour Team biked from Pittsburgh, PA to Cumberland, MD on the longest Sojourn yet.
At the Youth Bike Summit last year, BCYC athletes made connections with representatives for the Great Allegheny Passage and decided they wanted to bring the rest of their team to see the world-class trail for themselves. Months of planning and coordination by the youth leadership team BCYC.le Squad made this trip a reality.
Through on and off rain, challenging gravel, and a 57.5-mile 4th leg, youth displayed the perseverance, support and empathy for each other that makes this team so special. The team trusts that everyone is doing their best, and that the group will hold up individuals that need a bit of extra support at each step.
New Affiliate Chairs
As part of our move to better organize the Philadelphia suburbs, we announced new affilaite chairs in Gloucester, Delaware, Camden, Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, Burlington, Mercer — signed on in 2018 and continued working throughout the year to make their counties better places to ride bikes.
Spruce/Pine Streets “Car Counts”
In our ongoing — often thankless — efforts to keep bike lanes clear of motor vehicles, we sought to figure out how many cyclists are being impacted by people pulling over their motor vehicles into the bike lane along Spruce and Pine Streets. Several volunteers went out between August 15 and 21 to count the number of cars using the bike lane to pull over, as a loading zone, or to park, along 900 Spruce St., 1200 Pine St., and 1500 Spruce St.
These counts took place for one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon.
Here’s what those volunteers found:
- During morning rush hour, over seven dates, volunteers counted 31 cars in the bike lane on 900 Spruce St., 11 cars over three dates at 1200 Pine St., and 28 vehicles in the bike lane over six dates at 1500 Spruce St.
- During afternoon rush hour, volunteers counted 11 vehicles in the bike lane at 900 Spruce St., two cars in the bike lane over three dates at 1200 Pine St., and 18 vehicles in the bike lane over six dates at 1500 Spruce St.
- Therefore, there were about four cars in the bike lane, on average, during the morning rush. There were about two cars in the bike lane, on average, during the afternoon rush.
Fredricks Family Helps BCGP Begin Families for Safe Streets
The family of Emily Fredricks, who was killed by a Gold Medal trash truck while bicycling on the Spruce Street bike lane on November 28, 2017, made an important announcement that they had reached a settlement of $6 Million with the owners of the Gold Medal company.
The company also “committed to creating a regional training facility for drivers; hiring a safety consultant; barring drivers from stopping or idling in bike lanes; implementing 26 new safety policies to improve their drivers’ performance, including preventing distracted driving, and inviting the Fredricks’ to speak to drivers about safe driving.”
The settlement also includes a commitment from Gold Medal to contribute $25,000 a year for five years to an organization dedicated to making Philadelphia’s streets safe. The first year’s donation was made to the Bicycle Coalition.
We immediately put their donation to work on advancing Vision Zero goals for all Philadelphians. See, the Bicycle Coalition had already been working with the Fredricks Family on the Philadelphia chapter of Families for Safe Streets (FSSGP). This organization, a program of the Bicycle Coalition, consists of numerous families who’ve been affected by traffic violence in Philadelphia. The city and world will be hearing more about FSSGP in 2019.
Philly Area Bicycling on the Rise
The Census Bureau released the 2017 American Community Survey (ACS),showing a bump to 2.6 percent mode share in Philadelphia.
The latest ACS release showed that the number of Philadelphia bicycle commuters increased 19.3 percent from 14,397 in 2016 to 17,180 in 2017. That number represents 2.6 percent of all workers who live in the City.
That said, the numbers do not count students using their bicycles to travel throughout Philadelphia, nor do they show people who get around by bicycle, but do not bike specifically to work. The numbers are likely much higher than the Census data show.
In contrast to the City, the numbers are lower, but appear to be rising considerably. At the county level, about 0.4 percent of all commuters bicycle to work. Or more precisely, 0.4 percent of the survey recipients reported bicycling to work at least three times in the previous week.
New Circuit Projects Get Funding
Five Circuit Trail projects and four Circuit Connection projects were awarded funds from the Greenways Trails and Recreation Program. This is one of the state grant programs that benefits trails and bike/ped facilities, and this is good news for The Circuit. Keep reading to see the specific projects getting funded.
Speed Camera Bill PASSES
After several years of work, Senate Bill 172 — which legalizes speed safety cameras on Roosevelt Boulevard for a five year pilot — passed the state Senate on Tuesday. This was the final hurdle it needed to hop before heading to Governor Wolf’s desk.
Senate Bill 172 will have a positive effect on Philadelphia’s speeding and aggressive driving culture, making streets safer for pedestrians, drivers and, eventually, cyclists.
Passage of this bill was a years-long effort spearheaded by the Bicycle Coalition and other members of the Vision Zero Alliance.
After our numerous trips to Harrisburg, meetings with representatives from all over Pennsylvania, hearings in the Capital and in Philadelphia, and even working with a lobbyist, the bill passed and was signed by Governor Tom Wolf. Roosevelt Boulevard will be safer because of our efforts to make speed cameras a reality.
Listening To Communities
In October, the Fairhill Neighborhood of North Philadelphia, which has some of the highest rates of traffic crashes in the city, was the location of a listening session to hear the community’s input, views, ideas, and concerns about the traffic violence in their neighborhood.
Hosted by the Vision Zero Alliance, AARP PA, the Bicycle Coalition and HACE, this Listening Session was put together to help amplify the voices of community members to the greater Philadelphia region, to City Council, and to the Mayor.
Listening sessions hosted by the Bicycle Coalition, AARP PA, and PECO are a large part of our strategy to help bring better infrastructure to communities around Philadelphia.
These listening sessions will continue into 2019 and, we believe, be important for creating safer streets in Philadelphia’s most vulnerable neighborhoods.
Once we’ve completed the first set of sessions, we will put together a report and help the communities we’ve worked with bring the information to the City.
New Loading Zone Legislation
An idea to change loading zone rules first proposed by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is being introduced as legislation in Philadelphia City Council.
The plan, detailed here, would change the rules for creating loading zones on streets with bike lanes. Too often, delivery drivers park in bike lanes to unload their cargo on streets without loading zones.
The plan would incentivize businesses to create loading zones by waiving the $500, or $300, installation fee for business-centric loading zones, making it easier for delivery vehicles to legally park on city streets and deliver goods.
Pretty soon, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson took the first step toward making this law when he introduced legislation based on our memo.
“Parking in bike lanes makes our streets less safe and increases traffic congestion,” said Johnson, when asked about the bill. “When bicyclists have to merge into a traffic lane to avoid a parked car, crashes are more likely and traffic starts backing up. I believe that this bill will help keep bike lanes clear by eliminating the up-front costs of establishing loading zones on streets with bike lanes. It’s just one piece of the puzzle, but it’s an important one.”
Another AMAZING Gala
Our 2018 Gala & Awards Dinner was an incredible success thanks to all of you in our warm and generous community. After all of the hard work that we put into planning this event, it was inspiring to see everyone come together to celebrate cycling, to have fun and see the impact we can make at the same time.
We were able to raise over $127,000 for our advocacy and education programs, which is especially important for our scholarship fund since we’ll have 12 Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling athletes graduating next year. Our extreme gratitude goes out to everyone who contributed during the evening and to everyone who supported us ahead of time to make this event possible.
Northwest Trails Open House
Approximately 80 people (and ABC News, as seen above) came to the Northwest Circuit Trails Open House at the Manayunk Brew Pub on September 25 to discuss upcoming trail projects coming to Northwest Philadelphia and close suburbs.
There are numerous trail and canal projects underway in several Northwest Philly neighborhoods, Lower Merion and Whitemarsh Townships that will build out the Circuit over the next 3–6 years.
View all of the Northwest Philadelphia posters from the event here.
Fourteen different public agencies, trail “Friends of” groups, and one real estate developer brought poster boards describing their projects. They included: Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Philadelphia City Planning Commission, Philadelphia Water Department, Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County Planning Commission, SEPTA, Office of Transportation & Infrastructure, Manayunk Development Corporation, Roxborough Conservancy, West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Friends of Cynwyd Heritage Trail, Friends of the Cresheim Trail, Friends of the Wissahickon, Schuylkill Environmental Education Center and Penn Real Estate Group.
Vision Zero “One Year” Press Conference Highlights Bicycle Coalition’s, Latanya Byrd’s, Efforts
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, AARP-PA, AAA, and the rest of the Philadelphia Vision Zero Alliance, worked over several years to get Senate Bill 172 — which legalized speed cameras along Roosevelt Boulevard in North and Northeast Philadelphia — passed.
In September, the Vision Zero Alliance celebrated long-fought victory for traffic safety in Philadelphia at a Mayoral press conference about the first year of Vision Zero.
The victory was a large group effort, supported by State Rep. John Taylor (R-Philadelphia), and was made possible through the fierce advocacy of Northeast Philadelphia resident Latanya Byrd.
In 2013, Byrd lost her niece, and three of her niece’s children, to speeding drivers on Roosevelt Boulevard. She worked with the Bicycle Coalition and Vision Zero Alliance over the last two years to legalize speed cameras and make Philadelphia safer.
“I want no family to go through what mine has,” Byrd said at City Hall on Friday. “And it’s with a heavy heart that we declare this victory today.”
Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling Updates!
BCYC rides with Councilman Kenyatta Johnson
On October 25th, BCYC All Star Marc Darden, program coordinator Kate Campbell and policy coordinator Randy LoBasso went on a ride with Councilman Kenyatta Johnson to check out bike infrastructure in the 2nd district (which covers parts of Center City, South and Southwest Philadelphia). Marc talked to Councilman KJ about putting in new bike lanes, repainting existing ones and paving the streets to make them safer for cyclists.
BCYC at the Philly Bike Expo!
The youth-led cross ride to the Expo drew an enthusiastic crowd for a cold morning (honestly we think it was the District Taco breakfast that did it).
Through the whole Expo weekend, BCYC athletes were welcomed as true industry insiders–you could find them presenting about the program at the Bicycle Coalition table, working the room & communicating with vendors about the team’s equipment needs, and even serving as models for the professional bike fit demo.
First Annual Career Night
BCYC’s Youth Advisory Council worked long and hard to organize our first annual Career Night, where BCYC athletes and families joined career mentors to learn about their work in a variety of fields, practice interview skills, and make new connections.
The success of this event proves what we already know–youth leadership in youth-focused organizations is necessary, powerful, and effective! Thank you to all of our career mentors, All Star athletes, and our host Capital One Cafe for granting our YAC the well-deserved pride of a massively successful event.
Philadelphia Releases Vision Zero One-Year Update
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia introduced Vision Zero to all the mayoral candidates in 2015 (plus, all the City Council candidates who would meet with us), and we were encouraged to see the Kenney Administration roll out its Vision Zero plan in 2016.
The city released its One Year Update to Vision Zero, outlining the successes and failures of the first year, as Philadelphia’s government attempts to institute policies that bring traffic deaths down to zero by 2030.
Bicycle Coalition Members Make New Jersey Keep — and Spend! — Trail Money
Earlier this year, Bicycle Coalition members in New Jersey mobilized to contact their elected officials about the millions of dollars in federal Transportation Alternatives money the New Jersey Department of Transportation was about to give back to the federal government.
Our members sent hundreds of emails out to elected officials all over the Garden State, including Governor Murphy, demanding the state keep the money, and use it.
…And the result?
A complete 180: NJDOT went from the brink of giving back more than $10 million to finding a way to save 100% of it, as well as adding new funding! Thank you Bicycle Coalition members and supporters for your help!
Suburban Transportation Forum
The Bicycle Coalition’s first Suburban Active Transportation Forum was quite a hit! At our first event of its type, in Norristown, we put together four informative panel discussions, had a wide array of vendors, and a diverse audience of bike wonks and community members alike.
Our Saturday morning began with an update from each of the four Pennsylvania county planners on the state of The Circuit Trails and other bike/ped projects in the region. We followed that session with a discussion of how to decode the new suburban bike lane planning process from PennDOT and DVRPC.
Bicycle Coalition Opens Education Center in Fairmount Park
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is expanding into Fairmount Park with the opening of its first park-based cycling education and community center.
Housed in the historic Sedgley Porter House on Lemon Hill, the center will act as a community hub for all of BCGP’s cycling education programs with a special focus on its Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling Program (BCYC).
BCYC fosters healthy habits, leadership, and independence in Philadelphia youth through the sport of cycling.
In 2018, BCYC’s program grew exponentially, to over 130 youth across 10 sites in North and West Philadelphia. BCYC program Manager Taylor Kuyk-White believed the program was ready for its own space.
“BCYC’s programming relies on a partnership model with Philadelphia Schools and Community Centers,” says Kuyk-White. “Last summer, we held a series of all star trainings, a portion of which happened in the storage locker where our bikes are kept. We had 55 youth and 5 coaches crammed like sardines into the basement unit to learn basic bike maintenance. I remember thinking, we are bursting at the seams; it’s time.”
More Circuit Resolutions Signed — Now Representing 5 Million People
At the end of the year, Gloucester County became the seventh county in the Philadelphia region to adopt a resolution in support of building 500 miles of The Circuit by 2025.
Circuit signatory governments now represent over 5 million people in our region!
These resolutions are a critical first step in helping us ramp up Circuit Trails construction to meet our goal of completion by 2040. As signatory governments represent the vast majority of people in our region, the resolutions highlight overwhelming support for increased trails construction that Circuit Coalition member organizations can use to leverage increased funding priorities at the state and federal levels.
One Year After Emily: What We’ve Achieved
Several days after Emily Fredricks’ crash on Spruce Street in Center City, the Bicycle Coalition sent Mayor Kenney a letter requesting that he take seven actions to accelerate implementation of Vision Zero. Below are the requests we made in our December 1, 2017 letter and the resulting actions.
Add $1 Million to the Vision Zero Office FY2019 Budget.
What Happened: The City also added 13 new positions in the Streets Department’s FY19 Budget for a Vision Zero Maintenance Crew. That crew is expected to be hired by April 2019. In October 2018, the City committed to advancing $1.5 Million to cover the design for five fast-track projects at two schools, Cramp Elementary and Hamilton Elementary; the intersection of Roosevelt Boulevard & Summerdale; and corridor improvements on Parkside Avenue and North Broad Street.
Make public where protected bike lanes will be installed.
What Happened: The City has not released a map. It committed to building a “high quality bike lane network” by 2025 and 40 miles of protected bike lanes in its Strategic Transportation Plan: Connect and wants an outcome that doubles the number of bicycle commuters.
While the Administration did increase the figure from 30 miles to 40 miles, it extended the time to get there from five years to ten years (2020 to 2025). The report did list some key projects the City intends to get done by 2020 and 2025, including Spring Garden Street Greenway and Washington Avenue.
Present and implement Spruce & Pine design.
What Happened: City held two heavily attended public meetings and numerous meetings with the three civics along the corridor to discuss its plan to repave the entire Spruce & Pine corridor and flip the bike lanes from the right to the left to reduce “right-hooks,” like the one that killed Emily.
Extensive community outreach was conducted and initially, the City committed to complete the project by Fall 2018. But, the date slipped by and the City’s intention now is to get it done by Spring 2019 — which is extremely disappointing given the poor condition of the lanes and the sense of urgency that prevailed during Spring 2018.
Redesign Spruce & Pine intersections; replace with curbing.
What Happened: The City proposed several design options at the two public meetings in April that involved green paint and flex posts. We will see what the City actually implements.
Limit garbage haulers to one section of the city.
What Happened: The City told us that state legislations (Act 90) limited their ability to regulate private haulers.
Mandate side guards on all large private and public trucks.
What Happened: In April 2018, the City announced that it would begin to require all new trash hauling trucks that it purchases to undergo a series of safety improvements, including the installation of side guards. We are researching how the City can mandate private haulers.
Advocate on Families’ Behalf
Separate from demands of the City being met and not being met, the Fredricks worked with Bicycle Crash Lawyer Stuart Leon and the law firm of Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett and Bendesky on a series of demands for Gold Medal that would make their drivers inherently safer around cyclists.
This settlement and the meeting of demands is the first of its kind. We hope other companies that operate in Philadelphia, do deliveries, and use the streets, take note.
Along with the Fredricks Family, the Reffords, Latanya Byrd, Channabel Morris, the Javsicas’, and others, the Bicycle Coalition is organizing a new chapter of Families of Safe Streets, called Families for Safe Streets Greater Philadelphia.