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.

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