Biking isn't just for trendy kids anymore.
As bicycle use increases in Philadelphia, city and Penn officials are taking steps to accommodate bikers and promote bicycle safety.
Data from the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia shows that bicycle commuters in the city increased by 76 percent between 1990 and 2006.
According to the Coalition's fact sheet for 2008, about 36,000 commuters bicycle to work at least once a month in Philadelphia.
John Boyle, a spokesman for the Coalition, attributed biking's recent popularity to several factors including high gas prices, the inconvenience of driving in the city and the growing influence of bike culture.
"There's a new acceptance of biking," Boyle said. "A part of the urban culture has really embraced the 'bike-messenger cool' lifestyle."
Eric Lamb, an Engineering sophomore, just got a bike this year.
"I wanted to be cool," he joked. "But you can also get around a lot faster."
City officials have also recognized the growing need for regulation to support bikers and pedestrians.
Charles Carmalt was appointed as Philadelphia's pedestrian and bicycle coordinator last month.
According to Boyle, Philadelphia was the largest city without such a coordinator until Carmalt took this position.
One of Carmalt's first projects will be to double the current number of bike racks in the city. This coincides with the Adopt-a-Rack program, which has organizations volunteer to take care of a bike rack.
"The city has done a lot over the last 15 years to make Philadelphia more bike-friendly," Carmalt said. "But there's a lot more to be done."
Mayor Michael Nutter and his administration aren't the only ones working to make biking more convenient.
At Penn, the Division of Public Safety and Business Services are both promoting biking on campus, especially with the upcoming closure of the South Street Bridge, which will create more traffic congestion than usual.
Penn Police Chief Mark Dorsey and Business Services spokeswoman Barbara Lea-Kruger said the University is looking for ways to accommodate more bikes, emphasizing the need for more bike racks and increased safety precautions.
Business Services is installing bike racks in certain garages that will be available to use within the next month.
Racks will be installed in garages at 34th and Chestnut streets, 38th and Walnut streets and 40th and Walnut streets.
These racks will be able to accommodate 20 to 30 bikes each and will provide increased security and shelter in case of rain.
Additionally, Business Services is working with outside consultants to conduct a circulation and parking study to find out what more can be done to help bikers and pedestrians on campus.
The study is slated for completion by the end of the year.
DPS encourages all bikers to invest in a U-lock and to register their bikes with Penn Police on Campus Express.Comments powered by Disqus
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