It was a rainy day on Tuesday, August 29, 2017 for the ribbon cutting of the new protected bike lane on Chestnut St and Philadelphia and City Councilwoman Janine Blackwell chose to rain on the ceremony. When she announced that the lane would operate for 90 day trial basis, which could result in the removal of the bike lane. The same lane Blackwell signed an ordinance to make it permanent
So where do we stand? Since that time the promised community meeting to get public input has not happened. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia has engaged in another e-mail campaign, which failed to work with Councilman Kenyatta Johnson when he used councilmanic privilege to prevent a bike lane in his district. Otherwise, little if any, public pressure has been applied.
The process and design of the Chestnut St. protected bike lane was part of the problem. It took six years to get the lane installed and approved. So long that the community approval part of the process had to be repeated. In order to use the lane one has to cross from one side of Chestnut to the other. Not a safe process given the speed some people drive at on Chestnut. Then there is the problem of the traffic lanes narrowing from three lanes to two and no signs alerting drivers.
On Wednesday, November 29, 2017, 90 days will have passed and the final test will come. Thanks to a deal with the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (https://philadelphiabicyclejournal.blogspot.com/2012/09/dancing-with-devil.html) , Philadelphia City Council has final approval on all bike lanes that remove parking or a lane of traffic. Which means that Councilwoman Blackwell has the ability to overturn her own ordinance that made the Chestnut St. bike lane permanent. It won’t matter how many e-mails Councilwoman Blackwell receives supporting the bike lane or what the BCGP’s study data reveals. All that will matter is Councilwoman Blackwell’s nebulous claims about lack of community support.