Walnut Street Bridge, April 2016
On March 24, 2016, the Streets Department received a Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) award from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) for a project titled “Safe Spaces for Cyclists: Building a Protected Bicycle Network”. The project includes both creating and converting existing bicycle lanes into facilities called protected bicycle lanes (PBLs). Protected bicycle lanes are different than conventional bicycle lanes. They have flexible delineator posts to clearly separate motor vehicle and bicycle traffic within the roadway. The project also will include striping and signing in high priority bicycle corridors throughout the City.
Protected bicycle lanes improve the safety of conventional, or paint-buffered bicycle lanes. Research shows that many people who would like to bicycle, but don’t, are concerned about potential vehicle bicycle conflicts. In addition, other cities have reported a significant decrease in sidewalk cycling along corridors that add protected bicycle lanes. Protected bicycle lanes will allow for more Philadelphians, not just the bold or athletic, to cycle for transportation and recreation.
The protected bicycle lanes will include a paint- buffer to separate the bicycle traffic from motor vehicle traffic. They will also include a flexible vertical post for a physical separation. These posts are reflective to increase visibility at night.
These posts are used in Philadelphia as lane dividers at intersections and merge areas, and are widely used in other cities like Chicago, Pittsburgh, and New York. In fact, the City is currently piloting the use of flexible delineator posts on the Walnut Street Bridge to separate cyclists and motor vehicles.
The City continues to evaluate potential protected bicycle lane locations to prioritize funding.
Parking and loading can still occur on corridors with protected bicycle lanes. Accommodation is made by adjusting the spacing between delineator posts.
The placement of reflective flexible posts will allow for sufficient width for trucks and busses to travel along the corridor. The flexible posts will be spaced to allow for curb side boarding and alighting at intersections with bus stops. The spacing of the flexible delineator posts will not inhibit access or travel for emergency vehicles.
Snow removal of vehicular lanes on corridors with PBLs will not be impacted by the addition of the flexible delineator posts. The City is currently exploring options for snow removal of the protected bicycle lanes.
The City is currently developing the installation schedule along with public outreach. Implementation is expected by 2018, after outreach and design plans are devised.
Program information also available in PDF, click here.
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