After Unruly Meeting, Thank OTIS and Councilperson Squilla for 11th St. Safety Project

11th Street two-way bike lane, shown along the curb, with a painted buffer between diagonally parked cars. Some cars can be seen parked in said buffer

Image via Travis Southard

Advocating for better bicycle infrastructure is never easy, but the pressure is always eased when there’s a critical mass of people to defend our rights and rights of way.

That’s why everyone who showed up to last night’s Passyunk Square Civic meeting to defend the ongoing construction of the South 11th Street bike lane should be proud. You made a difference.

At the meeting, those opposed to the safety project for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers were loud and often unruly — but those in favor of the project did not sink to their level.

The Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability, invited to the Passyunk Square meeting to give a presentation, did a fantastic job of keeping the meeting in order.

They did this even as audience members spoke over them, screamed, and claimed the ongoing construction project—in which a 2-way protected bike lane was replacing a standard bike lane outside parked cars, and daylit intersections—should be put back the way it was before.

OTIS’ plan makes the street safer for cyclists, pedestrians, and for drivers.

The office went above and beyond to keep as much parking as possible, while, more importantly, making the street safer for everyone. This was at least the third public meeting about this project, and outreach has been going on for eight months.

Councilman Mark Squilla has supported this project while protecting parking for his constituents. He was at the meeting last night and defended the city’s project, and, more importantly, its Vision Zero goals.

This part of South Philadelphia is the 4th-most biked neighborhood in the United States, according to the U.S. Census; it’s time residents are given safe infrastructure for commuting.

Change is hard and at times painful. Creative problem solving, such as convincing Acme to allow its lot to be used for nighttime parking (one idea tossed out by Deputy Manging Director for Transportation Michael Carroll), should help.

The City and Councilman Squilla deserve a lot of credit for conducting a ton of outreach prior to installation, going back to the community as it did last night, listening to residents who are upset, and for making a strong case for why this lane should stay.

We encourage you to send a message to the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability, and Councilman Squilla, thanking them for working on, and supporting, this project.

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Topics: Biking in Philly, Featured, Vision Zero

3 comments on “After Unruly Meeting, Thank OTIS and Councilperson Squilla for 11th St. Safety Project

  1. Louis

    The improvement of bike lanes and commitment to making Philadelphia a more bike friendly and environmentally conscious city is not overlooked. As a daily bike commuter and dedicated resident, this effort is appreciated as well as utilized. Keep fighting the good fight and sticking up for people of all transportation modes who need representation.

  2. Camille Orman

    Thank you OTIS and Councilperson Squilla for standing firm on the great job you did for everyone’s safety on 11th Street. Very, very much appreciated.

  3. Avigail Milder

    I was unable to attend but will wrote in support. I hope a barrier bt bikers and cats is erected soon because the current situation is unsafe for both. The bike are also seems narrow for biker passing each other frankly, especially when considering cargo bikes. None the less, it is a move in the right direction. We should continue to urge septa to add more busses and routes throughout philadlephia so that more people can consider far free living. Our commuter system is Abysmal compared to other cities. Thank you for you work!

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