It’s no secret that having a little something between a car that weighs at least a couple thousand pounds and a cyclist, whose only form of protection from said vehicle that weighs a couple thousand pounds is a helmet, gets more cyclists on the road, which, in turn, makes biking safer for everyone. Sadly for all us Philly folks on two wheels — which, considering we lead the way in big-city bike commuting, is a pretty large number — there isn’t a single mile of protected bike lanes, which separate cars from bikes with a physical barrier rather than just a line, anywhere in the city.
You know that phrase “SMH” that your little cousin captions all of their Instagram photos with? Well, it stands for shaking my head and it feels appropriate right now.
But there’s good news: Back in May of 2015, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia reached out to all of the mayoral candidates with a questionnaire. One of the questions centered around protected bike lanes, asking if the candidate would support the installation of 30 miles of physically protected bike lanes over the next five years, along with 15 miles of standard bike lanes yearly. Kenney’s answer? “Yes.” And not just yes:
“It is embarrassing for Philadelphia to have zero protected bike lanes while over 50 other cities all have them. My administration will study best practices in these other cities to develop an action plan to implement these protected bike lanes. My administration will also identify and develop more standard bike lanes every year while working collaboratively with District Councilmembers.”
Win for us, right? And if you’re wondering what 30 miles of protected bike lanes would look line in Philly — I mean, aside from pretty freakin’ heavenly — the BCGP has put together a handy new map of where they think the protected bike lanes should go.
As Randy Lobasso, communications manager at BCGP tells us, “Our research coordinator made it based on Philly streets that were either wide enough for protected lanes, or already had things like buffered bike lanes that could — and should — be enhanced.” They will be presenting the potential protected bike lanes to the city, but you can see them now by checking out the map below. I, for one, am pretty jazzed about the idea of having a protected lane running along Delaware Avenue all the way from Oregon Avenue in South Philly to Spring Garden Street. Stress-free riverside cycling, here we cooooome.
And a note: If you have ideas about where you think protected bike lanes should go, check out BCGP’s Bike Lane Toolkit, designed to help Philly citizens tell the city where they want bike lanes, here.
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