Philadelphia is blessed with solid bicycle, transit and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure in and around the city’s streets. True, there are always amenities on our wish list—a robust Bicycle Sharing program comes to mind—but on an American scale, Philly is well positioned when it comes to multi-modal accessibility.
This past week, the transit picture just got a little richer with the long-awaited passage of the Complete Streets Bill
by the Philadelphia City Council.
The Bill is momentous for every Philadelphian who uses city streets on a daily basis. Whether you bike, walk, drive, use transit or get around on a wheelchair, this bill is aimed to benefit you and your long-term mobility.
"The Bill accommodates all users of the street," explains Alex Doty of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
. "Look at Spruce and Pine Streets. Since the bike lanes were built, auto accidents have gone down and pedestrian safety has increased. It’s been beneficial for everyone."
Doty says the bill itself has two purposes. In the short-term, the bill will rationalize Philadelphia's traffic code regarding bicycles and bike lanes. This means better fining procedures and clearer communication to both the public and enforcement officials as to the actual details of the law.
In the long-term, it will require all public and private developments to consider their impact on streets and sidewalks. The Streets Department is currently fleshing out a Complete Streets checklist that each project will have to adhere to, ensuring all users of the street are accommodated by new developments or street improvements.
"It’s a big step towards getting some place even better," says Doty on the prospects of Philadelphia streets becoming friendlier for all users.
And according to Doty, that "place" is only a few months away. "The Streets Department is in the process of finishing the checklist" he says. "It will have to go through a public comment period and then be ready for final approval."
: Alex Doty, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
: Greg Meckstroth