We’ve spent years pushing for better Streets funding in Philadelphia. Why? Because you can have the best road plans in the world, but they’re not worth much if you don’t have the money to enact them.
That’s the situation we’ve found ourselves in over the last couple decades, as we first reported in our 2014 Safer Streets Plan for Philadelphia. In it, we showed not just the huge backlog of streets that need repaving (~1,000 miles), but how Philadelphia compared to several peer cities when it came to prioritizing paving and striping funds.
A lack of Streets Department funds means a lack of surfacing, creating dangerous paths for cyclists and faded bike lanes (a map of which is available here.)
In early 2015, we released Better Mobility, which showed a path forward for the city.
And in the nearly two years since Better Mobility, we’ve seen large improvements in the city budget and the Streets Department’s ability to repave and restripe. In 2016, 52 miles of streets were repaved (up from 30 miles in 2013), and this year, the mileage is expected to be around 70 miles of repaved streets.
The 5-year Capital Program proposed by Mayor Jim Kenney recommends $174 million in new funds for reconstruction and resurfacing.
On Wednesday, we will give a presentation in City Hall explaining why City Council should approve this budget, which will enable the resurfacing of 131 miles of streets—annually—within seven years and ensure a state of good repair.
This is a step toward the 30 miles of protected bike lanes Mayor Kenney promised after advocacy from the Bicycle Coalition during his candidacy for mayor and transition period.
Want to voice your support of this new paving budget? Come out to City Council Chambers on Wednesday, May 3, at 5pm. Bicycle Coalition Policy Coordinator Bob Previdi will be speaking about our latest Road to Recovery sub-report.
You can see a preview of that presentation here: