Philadelphia, September 23 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter cut a green ribbon today officially opening two cross-town bike lanes in Center City, before using the Pine Street lane to bike to City Hall.
“Whether you ride to work, ride for fun, or ride for exercise, these new bike lanes are a great addition to our city streets,” said Mayor Nutter. “The opening of these bike lanes is a clear demonstration of our commitment to ensuring that the streets of Philadelphia are open, accessible, and available for all travelers. Whether you drive, ride, walk or use public transport you will be able to make your way around this great, green city of ours.”
Mayor Nutter noted that though Philadelphia has more than 200 miles of bike lanes, few are in Center City. The lanes run eastbound on Pine Street for two miles from 22nd Street to Front Street and westbound on Spruce Street for two miles from 2nd Street to 22nd Street, as a pilot program to determine the feasibility of dedicated bike lanes in Center City.
“For the first time Center City has a river to river connection for bikes. These lanes are a great option for commuting and recreation,” said Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities, Rina Cutler. Cutler believes that for the lanes to work, bikers and drivers need to show respect and consideration to each other and pedestrians. “When drivers, bikers and pedestrians follow the rules of road everyone gets to their destination faster and safer.” Cutler reminded cyclists to stop at red lights, ride with traffic (not against it) and stay in the bike lane. She added that, “drivers should expect police enforcement of the bike lanes – bike lanes are not passing lanes for cars.”
Dr. Donald Schwarz, Deputy Mayor for Health & Opportunity and Health Commissioner noted the public health benefits of adding bike lanes, “Healthy neighborhoods include healthy options for getting around. Bike lanes like these make it easier to have an active lifestyle, which can address some of our biggest health challenges including obesity, diabetes, depression and heart disease.”
The City will take before and after car and bicycle counts, evaluate the queue lengths at the Broad Street intersections, and accept community feedback. In November, the City will report initial findings to the community. If the lanes are determined to be a success, permanent marking will be made in the Spring, when portions of Pine Street and Spruce Street are repaved.
Philadelphia Bicycle Facts:
Philadelphia has over 200 miles of streets with bicycle lanes, 50 miles of bike trails, provided over 4,000 bicycle parking spaces and since 2005 has decreased the number bike accidents resulting in injuries by 14 percent. In May, Philadelphia received the League of American Bicyclists prestigious Bicycle Friendly Community Award at the Bronze Level. In June, Mayor Nutter signed an executive order instituting a Complete Streets policy for the City. The policy applies in the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of all city streets. We are giving full consideration to the safety and convenience of all users of the transportation system, be they pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit users or motor vehicle driver.