On Thursday, Feb. 22, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell introduced legislation to broaden the reach of Council's control over bike lanes. The bill proposes language that "any modification to an existing bicycle lane that would affect the flow of traffic" would require an ordinance.
This legislation, if made into law, would make it harder, costlier, and more time consuming for Philadelphia to make its streets safer.
Traffic crashes kill on average 100 Philadelphians a year, and 45 percent of them in 2017 were pedestrians or bicyclists. This figure hasn't changed much in the past five years.
Philadelphia has a Vision Zero goal of eliminating deaths by 2030 and a three-year Vision Zero Action Plan. Other cities have demonstrated great success in saving lives by installing all kinds of safety measures to make streets safer for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists; New York City for example, saw a 32 percent drop in pedestrian fatalities because of action it took to make streets safe. Philadelphia should be emulating that kind of progress.
Philadelphia's City Council needs to give Vision Zero a chance to succeed, not hinder this program every step of the way.
Philadelphia needs a supportive City Council that prioritizes safety over convenience. But, Jannie Blackwell's bill does not prioritize safety. By requiring city ordinances for more types of bike lanes, her bill would impede the implementation of safety measures desperately needed to make our streets safer for all road users.
Please send a message to the City Council Streets & Services Committee and let them know what you think about this legislation.