The Bicycle Coalition has been traveling to Harrisburg for the past couple years to advocate for statewide legislation that would slow down motor vehicle drivers, making streets safer for all road users.
One of these bills is Senate Bill 172 – a speed camera legislation pilot for Roosevelt Boulevard – and it’s closer than ever to being turned into law.
The bill was passed by the Pennsylvania House on Tuesday, overwhelmingly: 183-13.
But it’s not totally through yet. It still needs to be passed by the Senate and signed into law by the governor. And we need your help. If you live in Philadelphia or Bucks County, click here to use our application and call your senator. Use this blog if you need some talking points, and keep scrolling to learn more about speed camera legislation.
The last time we went out to Harrisburg to call upon the legislature to pass speed camera legislation was in late April.
Our trip was covered by numerous center-state TV stations and was written up on our blog. In addition to holding a press conference in the Capitol Building, we met with numerous state legislators to advocate for the passage of the speed camera bill, Senate Bill 172.
Why speed cameras?
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is advocating for a bill that would put speed cameras on Roosevelt Boulevard, which passes through the city, from far Northeast Philadelphia to Northwest Philadelphia.
We do not recommend anyone ride their bicycle on Roosevelt Boulevard. But we feel making this corridor safer is part of our mission. In the quest for Vision Zero, we have to advocate for the pedestrians who are being killed in traffic in Philadelphia, and many of them are being killed on the Boulevard, or around it. In fact, the percentage of pedestrian deaths is increasing in Philadelphia, and around the country, and the Boulevard is basically ground zero in Philadelphia for this distressing statistic. Someone needs to advocate for pedestrians and we, along with members of the Philadelphia Vision Zero Alliance, are doing just that.
Will speed cameras make streets safer for cyclists?
Yes. Where installed, speed cameras have been shown to reduce injurious crashes by 20-25 percent, and overall crashes by a higher percentage than that. If Philadelphia is going to become a better city for bicycling, we have to do what many of our peer cities have already done, and calm traffic by all available means. When people travel through a city at high, illegal, speeds with impunity, their recklessness often continues onto smaller city streets. We need to start somewhere on speed cameras, and Roosevelt Boulevard is where this technology is needed most.
Will people benefit In other ways?
Yes. Although the goal of speed camera programs is to raise no money at all (because motorists are following the law), the money collected from the tickets speeding drivers get will be distributed similar to the way red light cameras are: Via grants for infrastructure safety improvements. Red light camera grants — otherwise known as ARLE — are distributed at the end of the year and have funded many projects throughout Philadelphia and the greater region. Additionally, we support automated enforcement because it does not discriminate and does not force a potentially negative interaction between law enforcement and citizens.
Is there a plan for Roosevelt Boulevard beyond cameras?
Yes again! Check out Route for Change, which is planning changes along Roosevelt Boulevard for the long term. We believe Roosevelt Boulevard can be remade the same way Queens Boulevard in New York City was remade. Once referred to as the “Boulevard of Death,” and set up with inner and outer lanes, similar to Roosevelt Boulevard, Queens Boulevard is now a safer space where buses, cars, and, yes, bikes, co-exist peacefully.
The first step is getting this legislation through the Senate. And we still need your help to make that happen. Click here to call your senator!
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