The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia Talks to GVF About its Advocacy Efforts
As we navigate this new world, GVF is always looking to provide its partners with the latest mobility programs and resources. If you would like to discuss your organizations future transportation options, contact us today.
May is National Bike Month and GVF is continuing to celebrate virtually. Our second Wellness Wednesday webinar saw close to 40 attendees.
Sarah Clark Stuart, Executive Director for the Bicycle Coalition for Greater Philadelphia kicked off the webinar with an overview of the Coalitions efforts at this time.
Lou Savastani, Chair, Bike Montgomery County and Adam Supplee, Landscape Architect/Planner who are active members of the coalition also spoke on initiatives they are involved in.
Below are highlights from Sarah’s talk. There will be a second article with highlights from Lou and Adam’s talks.
Sarah first spoke on one of the coalition’s recent successes - the closure of Martin Luther King Drive to vehicle traffic. Since the beginning of the stay-at-home order, bicycling on the Kelly Drive Trail has increased by 471%, compared to last year. Many local trails are seeing overcrowding. The trails are typically about 12 feet wide, which makes it difficult for the public to maintain social distancing guidelines. To provide a safer outlet for the public to bike and walk, the coalition put a petition forward to the City of Philadelphia to close MLK Drive to vehicle traffic until the stay-at-home order is lifted. The City agreed.
With the momentum from MLK Drive, the coalition went forward to petition for more street closures throughout Philadelphia. The coalition, advocacy organizations from across Philadelphia, and numerous City Council members, released a letter to the Kenney Administration, calling upon the City to open more streets for safe social distancing. However, Mayor Kenney rejected the idea of closing more roads throughout the city. Another proposal the coalition is working on is to address safe streets once the stay-at-home order is lifted. In preparation for the return to work, the coalition is working on a street’s recovery proposal that could help people travel to work via bike safely.
The recovery proposal includes Senate Bill 565. The bill addresses the need for parking protected bike lanes. Without the bill these types of bike lanes are not legally possible. In late February, the bill was passed out of committee and is now on the senate floor. The bill is in strategy stage of trying to figure out how to convince the senate to move bill before summer break.
Since the senate and house are currently only working on COVID-19 bills, the coalition is trying to make the case that the bill is important to a COVID-19 pandemic environment as biking is a safe way for people to travel while keeping social distance – if the right facilities are available. Paving recently restarted and now is the time to pass the bill so these designs can be implemented when possible.
Another initiative the coalition is working on is the Circuit Trail 500 mile by 2025 campaign. The Circuit Trails network provides hundreds of miles of trails for recreational, commuting, and essential trips. The coalition is encouraging people to sign up to take action to help build connections throughout the trail system.
If you would like to get involved and become a Circuit Citizen on an action team for your county or become involved in other ways, contact the Bicycle Coalition for Greater Philadelphia here. GVF looks forward to continuing to work with the Bicycle Coalition for Greater Philadelphia, advocating together for safer, re-imagined roadways and transportation networks.