Monday, June 19, 2017

Philadelphia's shiny new...death trap.

In October 2016 I had high hopes when Kelley Yemen was hired by the City of Philadelphia as the cities first Complete Streets Director. As the head of  oTIS, City of Philadelphia Office of Transportation & Infrastructure Systems. With a Masters in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University and 9 years of experience. Including four years working for New York City as a Project Manager and Pedestrian Planner. Ms. Yemen sounded like the person who would get all of Philadelphia’s agencies responsible for bike, pedestrian and car infrastructure to work together.

Much to my chagrin, even something as simple as a bicycle lane may be a bad sign of things to come. On June 16 oTIS, triumphantly tweeted Philadelphia’s newest bike lane on Spring Garden between 33rd and 38th St.

death trap tweet.JPG

So what’s wrong with the picture above? EVERYTHING. What was installed is nothing more than a death trap for cyclists. Cyclists can get doored no matter which direction they ride in. Those riding with traffic can be clipped by cars driving to close. Cyclists riding against traffic will be forced into traffic when anyone double parks in the lane and are at greater risk of getting hit by cars pulling in and out for parking.

So how should this look? Exactly like this. 

 The most effective design for a contraflow, a bike lane where cyclists ride against traffic. Is to place the bicycle lane between the curb and the parked cars with the passenger side doors of the cars opening into the bike lane.  The park cars act as a barrier to protect cyclists from traffic and reduce the risk of dooring by the driver.


How a design like this even made it past the design phase, let alone got approved and installed speaks to the screaming lack of oversight on the part oTIS and its approval process.  This bike lane is nothing more than a death trap and a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday Funnies - Sometimes we all need some personal space

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Bike the Broad Street Run!

Last summer the Queen of Philadelphia’s large scale group rides, Alexandria Schneider, organized a ride down Broad St. Attracting over 1000 cyclists who rode in a non-partisan bike ride who ride to the Wells Fargo Center. In my write up of the ride I stated; “I don't know when Alexandria Schneider's next ride or what the theme will be. But I can't wait.” Well, the wait is over.

On Sunday, May 7 at 7am Ms. Schneider will be leading a ride down Broad St. prior to the start of the Broad St. Run. For those of you who can’t make it to the start just wait at City Hall and around 7:20am the ride will sweep through. All you have to do is join in. (https://www.facebook.com/events/260390147735939/)

I know there will be people who will say that the course of of the Broad St. Run is not for cyclists. However cyclists pre-riding a race route is not as unusual as you think it is. Since 2009 there has been a midnight ride prior to the start of the Boston Marathon. Complete with the local transit authority providing a special train to get cyclists and their bikes to the start and post ride pancake breakfast. And Boston is not alone. Similar pre-marathon rides are also held in Charleston, SC, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and New York City.

So what you can do to prepare for this ride?

  1. Go to bed early. - If you are going to be at City Hall at 7am, staying out and partying should not be your first choice. Remember you have to get up and ride to City Hall.
  2. Make sure your bike is in good working order. - Is your bike squeaking when you ride it? Do you have problems shifting gears or using your brakes? Get your bike tuned up as soon as possible, you won’t want to miss this ride.
  3. Bring a spare inner tube. - No one plans to get a flat tire. Having a spare inner tube will mean if you get a flat someone with tools can change it for you. Or you can help out a fellow cyclist in need.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday Video - Project « Ghostrider »

Project « Ghostrider » is a group of single speed/fixed gear cyclists who ride the streets of Paris France at night in Kabuki style makeup. In this video they collaborated with the musical group Gesaffelstien. Each cyclist has an up light on the handlebars of their bike to enhance their look.

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Tale of Two Cities

Two cities, two bike lanes, one is successful, the other isn't. Why?


Witness now a tale of two cities. One the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. The other, Portland Oregon, is the City of Roses. Each city has a growing bicycling infrastructure and activists who are involved in it. And yet when confronted with the same challenge they each had a different approach.


Each city has a bike lane covered in layer of debris. The kind of stuff that punctures tires and makes it difficult to ride. In Portland a group of citizen activists who are part of PDX Transformation put on safety vests and grabbed some brooms and cleaned the bike lane.





But in Philadelphia it was a different story. A city blessed with paid, professional activists, The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. Who leaped into immediate action by Tweeting for someone to take a picture for them. Instead of having an employee or intern go check it out themselves.




Instead of organizing a work party to clear the lane of debris. I have no doubt that the BCGP will make a few phone calls and send a few e-mails to various city agencies asking for them to clean the lane. Which will be ignored or subject to empty promises.


Philadelphia cyclists are at the mercy of professional activists who have become so wrapped up in nebulous long term goals. That they have forgotten how to get their hands dirty over more immediate needs.