City Councilman Greenlee today introduced legislation that would require City Council approval for installation of any bike lane in Philadelphia. The Bicycle Coalition is opposed to the legislation because it will delay making our streets safer and adds an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy to a process that already has substantial public review.
"We're #1 in big city bicycle commuting," said Executive Director Alex Doty. "Do we really want to be #1 in bike lane bureaucracy?" Requiring City Council approval of all new bike lanes is bad policy because: It will delay making our streets safer. Motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists have all benefitted from the 46% reduction in serious car crashes on Spruce and Pine streets since the new bike lanes were installed. (While the cost to motorist convenience has been tiny: a 2 mph reduction in average speed.) No City Council approval is needed for new vehicular travel lanes, crosswalks or bus stops.
Why single out a cheap, healthy way to commute? The City's Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan has already gone through a public review process and been approved by the Planning Commission. When taking out a travel lane, the Streets Department already consults with the local civic associations. It doesn't allow the traffic engineers at the Streets Department to do their job. Bike lanes installed as pilot projects will require review by City Council before the Streets Department can move the lanes to another street if that is what is recommended by their traffic engineers.
The Bicycle Coalition urges Philadelphians who do not want the Streets Department slowed down by an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy as they make our streets safer for pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists to contact City Council (contact information is at www.bicyclecoalition.org).