The Center City District recently released a report that shows northbound bicycle commuting numbers have increased by 33.4% over the past two years.
Amid rising gas prices and improved access to bike lanes, soon to include an improved Washington Ave. experience, the numbers are only expected to grow.
The report tracked ridership on all northbound lanes between 3rd and 22nd St. during morning rush hour (8 a.m. to 9 a.m.) over a two-week period in September. The main factors include the aforementioned rising gas prices but also a few other variables, mostly the rise in the 25-44 demographic in the outlying Zip codes of 19123, 19130, 19146, and 19147 — where the population has grown 38% to 43% in that age range. It’s just out of the “walkable” zone, so people have chosen to bike to work.
Center City District also cites a shift in on-site office bicycle parking options provided by Center City employers and also the Nutter Administration’s emphasis on “bicycles as a mode of transport”. However, given the surge in ridership through South Philly, the lack of Philly Bike Share stations below Morris St. seems like an odd choice.
What streets are seeing a swell of traffic? Take a look at this handy infographic:
There are a few measures in the works to ensure that those numbers continue to grow. The restriping efforts of Washington Ave. are progressing, with community meetings recently held by Councilman Mark Squilla and Councilman Kenyatta Johnson to discuss moving forward in the heavily congested business corridors 16th to 13th St. and 4th St. to Columbus Blvd. As PlanPhilly notes, the reorganization of these areas need to be approved by City Council.
It also seems like we can expect better bike infrastructure east of 13th in the not-to-distant future. The report specifically mentions the nightmare that is 11th St. The numbers above prove that it’s an unpopular route, to say the least, and future plans to pave over the trolley tracks will help riders navigate the oftentimes dangerous stretch of road.
Center City District also provides a glimpse of what’s to come:
Opportunities exist to install additional bike lanes, specifically east of 13th Street, where there is currently very limited bike infrastructure. The 2012 Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan released by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission recommends installation of up to 117 new miles of bike lanes city-wide
For a closer look at the report from Center City District, click here (.pdf)