Friday, December 20, 2013

#unblockbikelanes



It appears that the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) is finally going to take the issue of cars and trucks parking bike lanes more seriously. They are asking cyclists to tweet locations where vehicles are blocking the bicycle lanes. Tweet the PPA at https://twitter.com/philaparking with #unblockbikelanes 

This came about through discussions between the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (BCGP) and the PPA in attempt on the part of the BCGP to deal with the fact that the PPA has not been enforcing the Safe Streets bill. Which includes ticketing cars and trucks that park in bicycle lane. So they created a hash tag on Twitter so they could crowd source a database of problem locations. The PPA released a statement:  

We’ll keep close watch of this hashtag to help us identify chronic problem areas throughout the city and make plans for the future. While we can’t promise that enforcement can be dispatched for every single tweet we receive—the logistics of that are just too complicated since cars often move before our parking enforcement officers can get to them—we are committed to working closely with the cycling community on this issue.

Keep in mind that this does not affect the on going parking situation on Spruce and Pine on the weekends. When churches use the lanes as expanded parking for religious services and for-profit functions.

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia did make a valiant effort to explain how the the parking laws work. But what it boils down to is bicycle lanes are considered loading/unloading zones under city ordinances and its hard to prove that a car is parked. So PPA enforcement agents simply ignore the situation and allow it to fester. However since the PPA wants data lets not disappoint them give them as many pictures and locations as possible so they can see the extent of the problem. Let the PPA sort out what is legally and illegally parked.

With weekend temperatures in the 50's and 60's go for a bike ride, take pictures and write down the details of vehicles blocking bike lanes. I have no problem with commercial vehicles that are unloading that's just a part of doing business. Its the private vehicles and contractors that should be focused on, especially if they are empty and their flashers are not on. It is not your place to confront or chastise; document the problem including the block or intersection and ride on. Then keep this up the rest of the week. If you don't have a Twitter account, post to the PPA's Facebook page or e-mail them at Support@philapark.com. Just make sure to include #unblockbikelanes so your information can be identified.

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