The Bicycle Coalition recently met with the Philadelphia Parking Authority to talk about ways we could better work with them to enforce illegal parking in bike lanes, install better bicycle parking, and take fresh looks at where, and how, their officers could patrol bike lanes more efficiently.
As most know, the Parking Authority is under new leadership which, we believe, has opened the door to a more collaborative working relationship that focuses on Vision Zero and safety improvements as well as convenience with increased bike parking. Philadelphia suffers from a true lack of bicycle parking with no good solutions.
Formerly, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities had a program where businesses could request a bike rack, and install it. MOTU also installed the first 10 bike corrals in Philadelphia.
Unfortunately, the money which provided those free bike racks throughout the city has dried up.
We believe the Philadelphia Parking Authority should take the helm—given their issue is, well, parking—and install more bike racks throughout the city.
Additionally, we discussed the possibility of dockless bike sharing coming to Philadelphia, at which point, the city should be prepared with more bike racks to accommodate the additional bicycles. Dockless bike sharing is less of an “if” and more of a “when.”
While the Parking Authority has increased its ticketing of people who park their cars in bike lanes, that increase has not happened fast enough and seems to have leveled off. Illegally-parked vehicles in bike lanes is absolutely a Vision Zero issue, and every time someone blocks a bike lane with their motor vehicle, they are putting lives at risk, usually for their own convenience.
Check out the graph below, which shows the number of tickets handed out for motor vehicles illegally parked in bike lanes, by year:
We suggested the PPA put an officer on a bicycle and patrol the most-abused bike lanes—especially since we now have several years of data to show where infractions are occurring most often.
As many know, illegally-parked cars isn’t just an issue for bicyclists. People trying to walk through their neighborhoods are regularly blocked by motor vehicles sitting in the crosswalk, and on sidewalks. The Philadelphia Inquirer recently reported that SEPTA buses are blocked up to 2,000 times per day by illegally-parked cars in bus zones. Illegal parking in Philadelphia needs to be reigned in, and it’s going to take a new strategy from the PPA to make it happen.
The Bicycle Coalition will be sharing information about bike rack locations and areas that need improvement as well as areas that illegally-parked vehicles have traditionally been a problem. The new PPA director agreed to take a fresh look at how these continuing problems could be solved.
Our next meeting with the PPA will be in June. We will continue to report how these meetings go, what’s discussed, and what is being done to increase enforcement.
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