Monday, March 19, 2018

Change is hard, excuses are easy.

On Saturday, March 17 the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia held a
Vision Zero Conference and I did not attend. I chose not to sit through yet
another conference listening to experts and activists talk about what should
be and could be. Or worse yet, politicians making empty promises or
excuses for why they have failed to take any action.

I was truly angry and frustrated with this paraphrased statement attributed to
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.

Change is hard, making excuses is easy and Mayor Kenney has really good one above.
When Kenney ran for the office he made two commitments that I was very impressed by,
“Stolen Sidewalks” and 30 miles of protected bike lanes.

In Philadelphia when buildings are being constructed or renovated the sidewalks are
often blocked off to pedestrian traffic with no safe alternative. For decades in
New York City this issue has been dealt with the creation of “sheds” scaffolding
running the length of the sidewalk with a roof on it to prevent construction debris
from falling on pedestrians. As part of Kenney’s campaign he committed to ending the
practice of stolen sidewalks. Two years later nothing has changed.

Kenney’s other campaign commitment was to build 30 miles of protected bike
lanes during his four year term. So far we only have two miles, along with multiple
attempts to install unprotected bike lanes shut down due to Councilmanic claims of
“neighborhood concerns”. Kenney’s announcement of two five block long protected
bike lanes along JFK Blvd. and Market St. should have been greeted with derisive
response of “this is the best you have to offer after two years??!!”

It does not matter how many posts on social media Mayor Kenney reads, his apology
for not making change as fast has have we wanted was misleading. Mayor Kenney
has deliberately withheld several million dollars in grants to improve bike lane safety,
claiming the money does not exist. He should be apologizing for deliberately refusing
to make changes, making him complicit.

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