Stat Counter

Monday, July 21, 2014

#unblockbikelanes is working

Since the creation of the #unblockbikelanes hashtag by the Philadelphia Parking Authority I have been highly skeptical that the PPA was going to follow through on ticketing cars parked in bike lanes. Lets face it the PPA twitter responses of “we’ve added it to our list” does not give you the impression that they are doing anything.

So I did some research, the PPA has risen to the challenge and is taking enforcement of cars parked in bike lanes seriously.
Total number of tickets issued
April, May, & June 2013 - 242
April, May, & June 2014 - 475
This is a 96% increase over the past year.

With the largest increase in tickets at three locations.

2013 Tickets
2014 Tickets
Percentage increase
Spruce St. 1400 - 2300
Pine St. 300 - 2100
N. 13th St. 99-100

This is a good start, one that I hope will continue to be growing trend. There are some larger issues that will take time as it is going to involve a change in culture and tradition. The two most challenging will be churches that use bike lanes as parking on Sundays, especially the ones that have made arrangements with commercial parking lots. Or the issue police officers using the bike lane at 13th St by the court house.

I would like to suggest that the Philadelphia Police something to try during one its annual bicycle enforcement sweeps. A bike lane liberation ride hosted by a Bicycle Clown Brigade, as inspired by New York City’s Times Up. A fun, non-threatening piece of street theater that could be created by local cyclists. Along with a police escort to encourage recalcitrant car drivers to move their vehicle and a PPA agent to ticket unoccupied cars.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Penny for your thoughts

Attention ladies, I am a man. Or as I have been recently informed a self identifying CIS-Male. One of the challenges that women face is cycling in skirts and until I start riding in kilt I may never fully grasp the challenge. On the other hand I am always fascinated by problem solving and solutions.

Recently I came across these two videos. The penny in your skirt trick seems to be a very low tech solution

Penny In Yo Pants from Johanna Holtan on Vimeo.

The one I was really fascinated by was this one. It reminds me of the same technique used by women who ride side saddle on horses.

Personally though I would recommend to a woman who rides in a skirt and uses bicycle for transportation to consider options that have stood the test of time. Skirt and mixitie frames are designed for women who ride in skirts. Add a skirt guard to your rear wheel and you're ready to ride in your most fashionable attire. Of course if you are riding for speed or sport then you should have a specific frame to match those needs

The best example of how men and women pair bicycling for transportation and fashion is the bicycle fashion blog, Copenhagen Cycle Chic. Created in 2006, Copenhagen Cycle Chic reflects the diversity of a city where 52% of the population rides a bicycle every day and of that group 75% ride year round, including very snowy winters.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Locked and Loaded

A bicycle was stolen in Philadelphia on Wednesday. But unlike any other cyclist who can only file a police report and hope that maybe it will be recovered. The effort to find and arrest this thief will receive the maximum effort that the Philadelphia Police Department can afford. For this was not just any bike, this was a Philadelphia Police Department bike. In other words it was an official police vehicle. Stolen at 12:00pm at Broad & Moore the miscreant rode the bike for three miles and abandoned at 13th & Girard where it was recovered.

This is not the first time this happened to the Philadelphia Police Department. It just goes to show you that no matter what kind of bike you ride if you don’t lock it up someone will steal it.

Its moments like this when I have to ask myself; What grade would Hal Ruzal give the Philadelphia Police Department when they lock their bikes?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Orlando Council - Alleged Bike Thief

Meet Orlando Council; Son, Father, Husband, Research Assistant at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for 16 years and alleged bike thief. I have to say alleged because Mr. Council has only been arrested, he has not been convicted in a court of law…….yet.

On July 3, 2014 someone decide to celebrate the Fourth of July one day early by liberating a bicycle and Orlando Council came into possession of the bike which he then tried to sell on Craigslist for a tidy profit.

What he did not count on was the combined resources of the Philadelphia Stolen Bikes Facebook group who saw the add and it was all downhill for Mr. Council. An undercover Philadelphia Police officer set up a meet and with evidence provided by the owner, and the bike was recovered and Mr. Council was arrested on July 9, 2014.

While I can’t promise updates, it should be easy to follow Mr. Council’s  through the Philadelphia Criminal Justice system via the internet.  I would like to wish Orlando Council a Bon Voyage as he sets sail on his  journey.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Sisyphus had an easier task

For the past few years the Philadelphia Mayor's office has been testing parklets throughout Philadelphia. A parklet is created by temporarily converting two parking spaces into an out door seating area. For anyone to use. Studies have shown that with the increased foot traffic businesses have seen an increase of 15% to 40% in revenue.

With this success of parklets the Philadelphia City Council is now moving a bill through its chambers to cut through the red tape of the permitting process the Streets Department uses. And by eliminating red tape I mean that the Philadelphia City Council has once again made it impossible for any new pedestrian or bicycling infrastructure to be created.

Now if you want to get a bicycle corral or parklet in your neighborhood you only have to do one of two things. The first is to get 100% of the community would have to agree to the installation of a bike corral or a parklet. Which will be an easy-peasy thing to achieve since we can always count on a entire community to agree to on a single subject. All it will take is 1 person to stop the process in its tracks.

Fortunately there is a second option. Get your district Philadelphia City Council member to write a letter stipulating that he or she felt the great majority of residents were in favor. Which leaves at the mercy of professional politicians who make up the Philadelphia City Council. Meaning you are going owe and be owned by your district Philadelphia City Council member for a future I.O.U. You may not like.

The harsh reality of this bill is that the Philadelphia City Council has eliminated all of the red tape that normally makes obtaining a permit possible a Sisyphean task.

It seems that every time Mayor Nutter dares to create any kind of infrastructure that benefits pedestrians and cyclists you can always count on Philadelphia City Council to do everything they can to turn it into a political power play. And with this bill moving through Philadelphia City Council it appears nothing has changed.