Sunday, May 29, 2011

Philadelphia's Bike Progress - Top Gear to Coasting?

In their latest report, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia found that of the U.S. ten largest cities, Philadelphia ranked #1 for bicycle mode share (nearly two times higher than Chicago in 2nd place). According to the Coalition, "Bicycle commuting increased 151 percent from 2000 to 2009." Although the shift to cycling seems high, the mode share for bicycle commuting in Philadelphia only amounts to 2.16% of total commutes. Other cities are grossly outperforming the major cities, like Davis, California for instance with a bicycle modeshare of 17%, and 25% throughout the mid 1990's.

Needless to say, there is room for improvement everywhere. In the Coalition's report, they determined "streets with bike lanes have more bike traffic." Statements like these may seem straightforward, but it is important to have studies that support policy actions for better multimodal infrastructure.

Yet, amidst Philadelphia's success, City Councilman Greenlee wants to impose "legislation that would require City Council approval for installation of any bike lane in Philadelphia." The Coalition flatly opposes the legislation as it would stifle progress throughout the city and "delay making our streets safer." Alex Doty, Executive Director of The Coalition touts "We're #1 in big city bicycle commuting," but "do we really want to be #1 in bike lane bureaucracy?"

Image courtesy Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia |