Friday, June 29, 2012

Change I can believe in?

With the arrival warm weather you see a rapid explosion of century rides, rides that are 100 miles. The most prevalent are century rides designed to raise funds for a non-for profit. They all require a great deal of planning and logistics to execute these rides. But none more than the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia Bike Philly ride. Which includes 20 miles of car free streets in Philadelphia and thousands of riders. Over the years there have been growing problems the expense of permits and police to control traffic and deal with street closures. The added problem was the entry of $50.00 per person, made this event impossible to participate for the majority of Philadelphia residents.

So the BCGP is working on a new solution, a Ciclovia or as it is more commonly none in the United States, Summer Streets. Having attended Summer Streets in New York City on several occasions this is a much better solution than yet another century ride. Summer Streets are not a bicycle ride, they are street fair that stretches over miles full of activities. Its open to the public, is draw for tourists, and by leaving key cross streets open has a limited impact on traffic. If they start early in the morning there may be a chance to ride through the empty streets like I did at 7am at New York City's Summer Streets, but by 10am the streets were packed with wall to wall for the entire 7 mile length. An amazing sight that you have to see to believe.

I wish the BCGP good luck and hope that they are able to find the sponsorship to make this Ciclovia a success. As well as a new Philadelphia tradition.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Stu Bykofksy Rides Again

It's official a bill on bicycle lanes that a minority of the city council tried to sneak past last year is back again in all its glory. Philadelphia City Council Bill 12037, a bill which will require all new bicycle lanes to get City Council approval first.  

This time the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia chose to negotiate with the City Council. The committee got what it wanted a requirement that all bicycle lanes be approved by an ordinance by the City Council. The caveat being that this would only apply if the bicycle took a way a lane of traffic or parking. Which describes every bicycle lane installed in Philadelphia. In addition if the City Council fails to pass an ordinance approving than the bicycle lane has to be removed, within 8 months of the lane being installed.

All in all the terms of this bill way very heavily in the favor of the Philadelphia City Council and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia seemed rather quiet about this. Until the BCGP announced that had made a deal in which Councilman Squilla agreed to introduce a safe streets bill. That would make Philadelphia's traffic code conform to PA traffic code in several ways:
  • Makes the penalty for a bike running a red light $100;
  • Allows two bikes to ride abreast & repeals the mandatory side path rule;
  • Prohibits opening a car door in a travel lane unless it is safe to do so;
  • Prohibits parking in bike lanes.

A convenient fact that Stu Bykofsky has left out of his tale of biking Philadelphia, on a protected bicycle lane. So gloat all you want Stu, but this time the bikeheads and pedalphiles got a better deal out of the Philadelphia City Council that far exceeds what you think is a win.