City receives bike-friendliness award

· June 11, 2009, 5:38 pm   ·  Updated June 11, 2009, 12:00 am

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Vivian Huang/SP File Photo


On June 4, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter received a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community Award from the League of American Bicyclists.

According to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the award is a symbol of Philadelphia’s progress in becoming a more bike-friendly city.

The award is seen as an “appropriate level” for the city, Sarah Clark Stuart, campaign director for the Bicycle Coalition, said.

Both the Coalition and Nutter said they are hoping for even greater strides in the coming four years when the new rankings will be awarded.

“We’re aiming for platinum,” Nutter said in a press release.

In order to gain the highest honor from the League of American Bicyclists — and join the ranks of such cities as Boulder, Colo., and Portland, Ore. — Stuart said the Coalition has ideas to improve the conditions for all Philadelphia bicyclists.

For example, the engineering part of a plan to make Philadelphia more bike-friendly “is only being done for half of the city,” Stuart said. “We would like to see that expand to the entire city down the road.”

If the plan was enacted for the entire city, Stuart added, it would help to create more bike lanes all over the city and alleviate problems of gaps in the lane network, which is important for the safety of all cyclists on the road.

At the ceremony held on June 4, Nutter also signed an executive order to create a “complete streets” policy, making streets more friendly to all vehicles and pedestrians.

The order will help make “Philadelphia safer, more livable, and welcoming to everyone by designing streets with all users in mind”, Bicycle Coalition advocacy director John Boyle said in a press release.

In order to make these goals a reality, Philadelphia is also working on creating a SEPTA policy that will be friendlier than its current one and more mindful of other bicyclists, vehicles and pedestrians on the road.

Though the city is busy talking about the future, Stuart stressed that “the award is a real milestone because the city deserves recognition for all that they have done [thus far]”.

While many are happy to hear about these ambitious upcoming goals, many Philadelphia bicyclists are satisfied with the small things.

“At least they have bike lanes,” College senior Lorenzo Williams said.

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