With the start of a new year, it didn’t take long for Philadelphia City Councilwoman Janine Blackwell to create more lies about the protected bike lane on Chestnut St. In the February 2018 issue of Philadelphia Magazine, page 140, in an interview when asked “If I could have vetoed one piece of legislation, it would have been…” Responded with “the bike lanes on on Chestnut St. between 45th and 34. People feel different ways about it. You’ve lost a driving lane; there a parking issues. It’s a big problem. But the bikers love it.”
To say that I am shocked and surprised by this statement would be a lie on my part. Lets remember this is the same Councilwoman Blackwell who announced at the ribbon cutting for the Chestnut St. protected bike lane that the bike lane would now be considered a pilot test and subject to removal in 90 days. Although 90 days have passed, the threat still remains.
What I find appalling is the deafening silence in response to her statement. It was Councilwoman Blackwell who sponsored and signed the ordinance that led to the creation of the Chestnut St. Bike Lane. There are several players involved in this who seem to be enabling this lie.
First there is Philadelphia Magazine writer Victor Fiorilli and the magazines fact checkers who somehow failed to double check this statement. One would think that being media professionals that they would be capable of finding out Councilwoman Blackwell sponsored the ordinance for the creation of the Chestnut St. protected bike lane.
Then there is the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. Not a single Tweet, post to social media or article on their blog. This failure to respond should come as no surprise. For years the BCGP has been trying to be political insiders which has led to failures including the #unblockbikelanes campaign and giving control of all new bike lane installation to Philadelphia City Council. While the paint on bike lanes in Philadelphia have faded away to nothing and new bike lanes have been blocked by Council members over “neighborhood concerns”. The BCGP has refused to organize any kind of protest or rally. Instead they are focusing their attention on the suburbs and “completing the circuit.
In between the statement by Councilwoman Blackwell, Philadelphia Magazine's failure to fact check their interview, and the silence from the BCGP it’s hard to say who the worst hypocrite is. Given the fact that we currently have a President who took office with the lie of having the largest attendance at his inauguration to his most recent lie of having the most viewers for his State of the Union. It is no surprise that Councilwoman Blackwell has not been called out for the liar that she is. At a time in American history when accountability is no longer part of doing your job.