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Reporting Sidewalk and Bike Lane Closure Problems Is Making a Dent

By Benjamin Harris

Earlier this month the Bicycle Coalition began a pilot with the City of Philadelphia to tackle illegal closures of our sidewalks, bike lanes, and streets, and asked our supporters to report problems with disruptions.

See the original post here for more information.

We’ve gotten three reports of unpermitted closures, so far — two of which the Streets Department did not know about. So, thank you to those folks who reported problems. You’ll be happy to know that it’s working; the Streets Department is taking steps to evaluate some of the locations reported and will be issuing violations.

Approx. 1920 Cecil B. Moore Ave

Streets Department response: “Inspectors will be dispatched to the site to issue violations. Status will be updated when complete.”

8th & Carpenter St

Streets Department response: “This permit covers the closure of the 8th Street west footway to facilitate a gas main installation. We will have inspectors visit the site next week and provide findings of overall compliance.”

1204 Frankford Ave

Streets Department response: “Our Unit is aware of this full sidewalk closure. It is to facilitate a complete demolition of an unstable mutli-story building. Pedestrians may not be within 18′-0″ of the facade of the building during demolition. Upon last site visit pedestrian detour signage was in place.”

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Un-permitted and problematic closures can create dangerous scenarios for all users, but especially the most vulnerable. We encourage people to continue to report problems with sidewalk and bike land closures as it is working, and actions are being taken.

As a reminder, these are typical problems you might run into at a construction project that may affect users right of way:

  • Bike lane or sidewalk closed without safe passage or signs
  • Debris, hazards or construction activity in the bike lane or sidewalk
  • Unsafe lane shift or merge
  • Uneven steel plates
  • More than one ramp is blocked at an intersection
  • Two sidewalks on both sides of street closed without safe passage

We are asking interested residents to report projects limited to the area of Philadelphia between Allegheny and Tasker, river to river.  We will conduct this project for another month as a pilot.

If you see a project that you think is not permitted or in violation of its permit, please follow these steps:

Step 1: Take a picture and note the location’s address – the more specific you can be, the better!

Step 2: Look at the City’s webmap of street and footway closure permits to see if the project has a valid permit  (or cut and paste https://stsweb.phila.gov/closephl/ into a new browser tab)

Step 3: If there is NOT a permit, fill out this form and attach the image of the project.

Step 4: If there IS a permit, but you see a violation, fill out the same form and attach an image of the problem.


Through advocacy and education, the Bicycle Coalition leads the movement to make bicycling a safe and fun way to get around for anyone in Greater Philadelphia. We’re a member-funded organization, and we can’t advocate for building out the region’s bicycle network without your support. Join or donate today to partner with us and make your ride better.

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Topics: Biking in Philly, Featured, Vision Zero

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