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.
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.