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Attention all those who bike Philly streets: The Complete Streets Bill is up for discussion in City Council TOMORROW, Thursday 15th.
Councilman Mark Squilla, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, the Streets and Law Departments, and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia all worked together to improve those often rowdy biker-car-pedestrian relations. Heck, maybe they even were inspired after reading my rebuttal to Carrie Denny’s infamous “Cyclists suck, my gas-guzzling SUV rules all Philly Streets” Philly Mag post. (Maybe Philly Mag even got the point since they mentioned this bill is even good for cars.)
The bill has 2 main goals:
- Institute a “Complete Streets” policy to consider all street users for future transportation & development projects.
- Overhaul the city Traffic Code for bikers in Philly. Examples of these changes:
- Prohibits parking in bike lanes and provides fines of $50 or $75 for violations;
- Aligns city fines for non-parking bicycle traffic violations with state fines;
- Increases the fine for sidewalk bicycle riding from $50 to $75 (the one fine which will be higher than state levels);
- Eliminates a law prohibiting bicyclists from riding two abreast;
- Eliminates a law requiring bicyclists to take a side path instead of a street;
- Makes opening a car door into traffic a city traffic code violation.
Essentially, these changes will punish assholes both of the car & bicycle type, and give cyclists more rights. Those who bike Philly should be psyched. As Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Alex Doty puts it:
“The future of Philadelphia’s streets and sidewalks will be shaped by this bill and over time will become safer for everyone who uses them. Balancing the needs of all users will make our city streets safer and more pleasant for walking, bicycling, and driving. We applaud and thank Councilman Mark Squilla for enabling Philadelphia to have one of the strongest municipal complete streets policies in the country.”
Bill #120532 & amendments are set to be discussed at the Streets & Services Committee hearing tomorrow at 2 PM in the City Council chambers of City Hall. If you bike Philly and have an input for your City Council member, email or call them before the discussion. After all, those who bike the Philly streets are those who should care about this!
For more info, check out the Philadelphia Bike Coalition’s awesome posts about the ins & outs of the Complete Streets Bill. I especially like their animated octopus on their FAQs for the bill.
Do you bike Philly streets? Are you excite for this bill?