Readers of this blog know that even though Councilman Kenyatta Johnson recently wrote a letter against the Lombard Street portion of a proposed South Street-27th Street-Lombard Street protected bike lane project in West Center City, we have continued our efforts to create a safe passageway for road users who use west Center City to get to and from the South Street Bridge for commuting.
The Bicycle Coalition and others have been in talks with neighbors, cyclists who use the area, and neighborhood associations to figure out how we can make this commute better, and safer, for cyclists.
So we’re happy to report the South of South Neighborhood Association released a letter in support of the South Street section of the project.
“Our neighborhood serves as a gateway between West Philadelphia and the rest of the city. Given the number of commuters who pass through our neighborhood, we are eager to support the pilot project as it has the potential to enhance the safety of cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers,” said Kevin Brown, Chair of the Board of Directors. “We look forward to working with oTIS, residents, and our local businesses to ensure that the project promotes bicycle safety and that those who pass through SOSNA’s boundaries stop to enjoy our restaurants, shops, parks, and green spaces.”
SOSNA’s support of this project is in part because of the overwhelming support of those who used the Bicycle Coalition’s email platform to send Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and the Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems emails about the project.
More than 300 emails have now been sent as part of that campaign, the overwhelming majority of which were in favor of the bike lane project, including the letters from those who live in the Second Councilmanic District and those who are part of SOSNA’s constituency.
However, bike lanes aren’t put down just for the people in the immediate community. SOSNA recognizes this, and notes in their letter that their neighborhood serves as a “gateway” between West Philadelphia and the rest of the city (which is true), and that cycling is healthy (which is also true.)
As noted in the neighborhood association’s press release,
SOSNA’s support for the pilot proposal for protected bike lanes follows an informational session in July, where residents of the Graduate Hospital neighborhood overwhelmingly supported the pilot project. Residents noted the importance of improving biking infrastructure to promote health and safety for city residents.
While improvements around the city (including to the South Street Bridge) have created more opportunities for bicycle commuters, the protected bike lane proposal can improve bicycle safety on South Street.
We are appreciative of SOSNA for supporting the safety of cyclists and recognizing the importance of bicycle infrastructure for Philadelphia. It’s additionally of note that although Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s lack of support for the project was based on about 100 “near-neighbors” expressing concerns about Lombard Street, SOSNA found the exact opposite to be true on South Street.
The Bicycle Coalition is completing a letter of recommendations that we will be handing to the city. We will update our readers with these recommendations as soon as possible.
See SOSNA’s letter below.