City Council unanimously passed two ordinances today allowing the Department of Streets to designate two bike lanes and an ordinance removing parking along the 8200 block of Torresdale Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia where the Pennypack Trail crosses.
This is a small step toward achieving the Mayor’s campaign promise and Vision Zero plan for 30 miles of bike lanes. So far there are two miles. The bike lane along Race Street will be protected between 8th and 6th Street, and continue as an unprotected lane between 6th and 5th.
The second bike lanes will be installed along Island and Enterprise Avenues in Southwest Philadelphia. Councilman Johnson issued this statement to Clean Air Council on the importance of this bike lane and his thoughts on future trail connections in his district:
“This bill is part of the ongoing collaboration between my office and OTIS to advance Vision Zero goals. My priority is making city streets safe and inclusive. This particular proposed ordinance is the result of collaboration between my office, the Philadelphia International Airport, and community and advocacy groups to improve street safety in Southwest Philadelphia.
I believe bike lanes are beneficial to the city as a whole and this will help cyclists commuting in Southwest. We have received support for the bill from the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and community groups, who were consulted during the bill’s drafting. In cases like this one, where there are not the same space constraints and traffic or construction levels you have in Center City, there’s more opportunity for solutions that work for everyone.
In terms of the East Coast Greenway, my mind goes immediately to the Schuylkill River Trail and our work to connect South Philadelphia and Southwest Philadelphia portions of the trail between Grays Ferry and Bartram’s Garden, as well as fill in the missing links of South Philadelphia to expand access to the trail. I occasionally bike the Trail myself and I understand firsthand the importance of safety while cycling in the streets as well as expanding our greenways.”
On Thursday, Councilman Mark Squilla, Chair of the Streets and Services Committee, introduced three bills on the Council floor proposing two new bike lanes, and eliminating parking along Torresdale Avenue where the Pennypack Trail crosses in Holmesburg.
This came a day after the Streets and Services Committee moved forward on the bills. According to Plan Philly, City Spokesman Mike Dunn told them in an email that he hopes the lanes will be open by the end of the year.
One of the proposed bike lanes would be installed along Race Street between 8th and 5th streets in Chinatown. This particular corridor is heavily trafficked, especially during rush hour, with vehicles headed toward the Ben Franklin Bridge. Race Street turns from three to four lanes that are not clearly marked, adding to potential driver confusion.
The new lane would be parking protected from 8th to 6th, and would also create a much safer connection between Chinatown and Franklin Square, which is one of the only green spaces in the neighborhood.
The second bill is to install non-protected bike lanes in both directions along Island Avenue and Enterprise Ave in Southwest Philadelphia near the airport. These lanes will allow cyclists who work in this business and industrial area a safe path from nearby transit stops like the Eastwick Regional Rail Station.
The third bill, proposed in committee by Councilman Henon, removes parking along the 8100 block of Torresdale Avenue in order to allow Pennypack Trail users a clear place to cross the road. This is a wooded stretch of Torresdale Avenue is a key crossing point of the 14.4 mile trail that runs from Huntingdon Valley in Montgomery County all the way to Holmesburg in Northeast Philadelphia.
We spoke with Councilman Squilla briefly outside City Council chambers. “Councilman Henon introduced a bill, and we’re strongly in favor of the bill to allow the trail to continue,” Councilman Squilla said.” “I think it’s a great way to have more open space.”
All three of these are key to the success of Philadelphia’s Vision Zero plan. Safe connections like the Pennypack Trail at Torresdale Avenue will allow people to pursue alternative modes of transportation, and ease the pollution and congestion cars produce every day.
“This just lends the City’s upward motion to keep people who have different modes of transportation and ways of getting to different locations through this trail connector which is a great thing for not only the City but hopefully throughout the Commonwealth,” Councilman Squilla said. “Any time you can have dedicated trails, and people where they are put in a place where it’s safer to transverse, it definitely will help with our plan for Vision Zero.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
[September 26, 2017 – PHILADELPHIA, PA] Companies from across the Greater Philadelphia Area are signing up and showing their support for bicycling as part of the Love to Ride Philadelphia Challenge. This regional campaign aims to encourage bicycling, foster friendly competition, and inform future decisions around bicycle infrastructure. The Challenge is free and open to all businesses, employees and residents of Philadelphia. The Challenge, in partnership with GoPhillyGo, Indego and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, runs from October 1st through October 31st, 2017.
The Love to Ride Philadelphia Challenge is about encouraging people to hop on a bike and rediscover the joys and benefits of riding. Workplaces compete by encouraging as many employees as possible to ride their bikes and ride more miles. Competitors who log at least a 10-minute ride are eligible for a chance to win prizes, including a new bike, a three-month Indego membership, a full bike tune-up from Performance Bicycle, gift certificates to museums and local restaurants, and more!
“The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is excited to be involved with the Clean Air Council in this city-wide challenge,” said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the AACR. “The AACR is a global organization focused on every aspect of high-quality, innovative cancer research and cancer prevention; thus our staff is looking forward to participating in any activity that promotes health and wellness right here in our own community.”
By supporting the Love to Ride Challenge, businesses will save money, boost productivity and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. Whether employees are regular cyclists or brand new ones, join the Love to Ride Philadelphia Challenge today by visiting www.lovetoride.net/philly. Registration is open, and participation is free.
Clean Air Council is a member-supported, non-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting everyone’s right to breathe clean air. The Council has over 8,000 members and works in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey on public education, community advocacy, and legal oversight and enforcement of environmental laws.