13/15 Neighborhood Bikeway Project to Begin Phase One
What better time to kick off the 13/15 Neighborhood Bikeway Project than during Bike Month.
The 13/15 Neighborhood Bikeway Project is a north/south pair of priority bicycle streets between Center City and South Philadelphia, from Oregon Avenue to Market Street. The new bikeway treatment includes signage and pavement markings to indicate priority for bicyclists over vehicles. This project will not result in a loss of parking or vehicle lanes, but will send a clear reminder to drivers that bicycles may use the full travel lane.
Planning efforts began in 2013 and involved countless civic groups, the Bicycle Coalition, the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation & Infrastructure Systems, and strong opinions from longtime residents (most likely). Funding for this project was provided by the federally funded, Transportation Alternative Program.
The project will be completed in three phases: 1) South Philadelphia signage, 2) South Philadelphia pavement markings, and 3) North Philadelphia portion to Lehigh Avenue.
As part of the testing of the bikeway treatments, a public survey to measure bicycle comfort on 13/15 Streets today and between the phases of the project has been established [here].
37 thoughts on “13/15 Neighborhood Bikeway Project to Begin Phase One”
As a long time bike rider I like to see these initiatives but the idea that a bike can take the full lane is not a good one. I ride to the side to let cars pass me. I would never think of not letting cars go by. They go faster than me for the most part. As a driver nothing annoys me more than a bike rider who won’t yield. The speed limit on the streets is 25 and most bikers don’t do better than 10. When sheets are too small for passing this makes sense but 13 and 15 have room for bikes to be passed by cars.
A biker _can_ take the full lane. She doesn’t have to, but she has the right to do so. It’s an important reminder to motorists. Sometimes bikers have upcoming turns, need to avoid debris or ruts in the road, or have other reasons for not being able to get to one side, and in those cases—at the discretion of the biker—it’s imperative that they are allowed to do so.
I agree that those are inevitable obstacles that bikers will deal with, but don’t pretend that that is an excuse to take up the whole lane. Those are instances where a biker will need to move into the center of the lane for maybe a hundred feet. Whenever I bike in the city, I make sure to allow as much space as possible to pass, as I know that A) I am going to be going slower than the car that needs to pass me, whether it be for an emergency or sheer impatience.
Also, why are all bike lanes on north bound streets? Why can’t we get corresponding south bound bike lanes?
I’m an idiot, 15th is southbound.
The thing is, motorists don’t necessarily understand why a cyclist may need to “take the lane” even if if there’s bike markings on the road. They’re often oblivious to door-zones, debris in the road, and the other considerations of cyclists.
Its just better for everyone if the message is ALWAYS a simple: “cyclists may take full lane”. Most people in Philly are too stupid to understand anything more nuanced.
The cyclist should be free to decide when they need to take the whole lane and do so without feeling like they’re hogging the road.
Of course, regardless of the law or markings on the road some drivers will feel the need to express their displeasure whenever a cyclist delays them for a few seconds by laying on the horn. That’s OK. You’re far more like to get right-hooked or side-swiped than hit from behind. If the motorist is honking, that’s good. It means they see you. As dumb as Philadelphian’s are, they’re not homicidal maniacs.
Well thank you for gracing us with your residency, omnipotent cycling overlord!
Sweeping generalization of an entire city population, nice.
Maybe I wasn’t clear. In normal travel bikes should stay to the side except when they must take the full lane. But to keep the full lane for no reason not allowing cars to pass when able is inconsiderate. I will take the full lane for obstructions only.
Obstructions can appear without notice. Allowing yourself to get routed between a moving car and parked cars with no room for error is a recipe for getting doored, side-swiped, right hooked or collide with pedestrian.
13 and 15 are too narrow for separate bike lanes. On such narrow streets it is perfectly fine to ride straight down the middle. Most car traffic won’t drive these streets for more than a few blocks at most before parking or turning.
Nothing in the proposal says that bikes have to take up the full lane. And nothing is changing at all in fact except some new signage and pavement markings to remind cars that bikes are supposed to be in the street and can take up the whole street if necessary. Its something I don’t think a lot of drivers realize so I’m for it.
For the record, I bike up 13th in the mornings and get honked or yelled at by cars atleast once a day who seem to think that I shouldn’t be on 13th and I do stay to the side mostly.
Rachel I always ride on broad st. There is more room for cars to pass and lights make it much easier to stay at speed. And it is much smoother except those horrible brick crosswalks on broad.
Please educate yourself about PA state law, which requires 4 feet for a motor vehicle to safely pass anyone riding a bicycle. Most South Philly one-ways are too narrow to accommodate this distance, and taking the lane is the only safe choice a bicycle rider can make.
When you’re behind the wheel, please just take a breath. Going 20mph vs 10mph is gonna save you about 60 seconds getting to I-95 or 76. And you’re gonna hit all the same stop signs and red lights along the way.
Will cyclists start obeying STOP signs?
Will CARS start obeying STOP signs?
i’m happy to take the lane and make a full stop at every stop sign, putting my foot on the ground and looking both ways. you’re going to LOVE driving behind me.
As a bike commuter, this is waste of tax payer money. Cars ignore the markings and bikes still feel obligated to ride to the side.
“Funding for this project was provided by the federally funded, Transportation Alternative Program.”
Which is still funded by taxpayer money. Where do you think federal money comes from?
Take this initiative further.. close 13th and 15th to car traffic completely. Encourage more biking, less driving in the city.
That would be so amazing. As I read this piece, I asked myself why they wouldn’t have gone the whole nine yards and made a protected bike lane, but truthfully, your suggestion would be world-class forward thinking. Heaven forbid!!
Yeh right. As if parking wasn’t already an issue, you’re suggesting permanently closing 2 streets completely to cars…good luck getting that passed.
What about all the driveways…you just allow the owner’s property values to plummet since they’re no longer viable? What about businesses that need deliveries? What about trash pickup for all the residents?
I really don’t think you’ve thought this through. There are repercussions to actions. You will NEVER see an entire main thoroughfare permanently close to traffic in Philly. That’s nonsense.
Lively discussion about biking in S. Philly here. Very good sign, people.
Just wanted to put a more insistent voice into the mix by saying: I always take the lane west of Broad. How is it even possible not to on southbound streets like 17th and 19th? Moving over leads drivers to believe they can or should pass, something most of them realize they can’t once they try to do it. But why even give them the option when taking the lane is the safer choice for everyone?
Also, taking the lane increases the slow acceptance of bicycling throughout the city. Because I think of myself as a roving public service announcement for bicyclists everywhere, I make drivers stop as frequently as possible and I make eye contact so they see that I am a human being. Sometimes I even wave them through a stop sign or say thanks when they let me go first. In my own little world, I like to think I’ve helped to encourage better behavior from drivers in Point Breeze and Girard Estates. Haven’t been honked at in six months, at least west of Broad.
Forget about markings on 13th and 15th Streets. They’re nice but won’t do much. Instead, take the lane as much as you can and help advocate for protected bike lanes both northbound and southbound on both sides of Broad St. That’s the solution; everything else is merely half-hearted, feel-good measures.
Cars can pass safely on all streets except the side streets. If you think they can’t you aren’t giving them the room. Taking the full lane all of the time is inconsiderate. It so nice of you to be our PSA…lol. People like you are the ones that make drivers not like us. I’ve ridden the streets since I was 9 and never felt unsafe with a car passing me. Trucks and buses I give the right of way. Cars generally give me the wave through and I give a wave back and I watch everything.
You are correct SP Biker, Ambrose is the type of biker that frustrates drivers. I have driven and ridden bikes in the city all my life, never had this issue until inexperienced city riders started taking to the road.
South Philly Biker, I don’t see how cars can safely pass bikes on 1-way streets when you consider the door zone. Wouldn’t biking to the side so cars can pass out you right in the door zone? I take the lane for this reason.
Dooring is Always a risk. I watch out, pray and keep my hands on the breaks. Only happened to me twice in 33 years. I only stay in the door zone when cars are passing otherwise I’m over a little but in a position to let cars know they can pass. Most importantly I listen. Cars never sneak up on me soI know when to get over. If you are wearing headphones you are crazy!
…can we also educate those who utilize Philly Bike Share on the bike laws and make segues follow cyclist rules? Our roads are too small, I sadly don’t think there will ever be a compromise on the smaller streets. Think about riding through Center City where there are bike lanes (Chesnut seems to always be the worst) and how cars can be completely oblivious even with designated lanes. I will continue to ride like everyone doesn’t see me because that it just how it has to be. I’ve been doored, had drunk pedestrians walk into me, sexually harrassed, slow-rolled by cars full of people, chased down by drivers after I pat their side window to let them know I am there when they almost pin me to a car, called a bitch for stopping and waiting at a red light when the driver was trying to insist I go instead of them when they had the green… my battle as a daily rider is not the space on the roads but people in general being unaware of their actions and disregarding our civil responsibility to promote a safer community.
I wish all the discussions and planning were focused on adding a dedicated bike lane on Broad Street. Imagine realigning the street so that the room taken up by median parking was used for bike lanes…even using a bit of the very wide side walks…one can dream.
I also have noticed on 13th street between south and Washington there is typically LOTS of parking available, at times there are zero cars parked on a block during the day, due to permitted parking requirements (as well as rear parking for most of the blocks) It seems like the 13th street bike lane could be extended down to Washington.
Just a few thoughts.
Thanks for replying: it’s good to be part of a dialogue even when we disagree.
Let me make a couple of quick points and then I’ll retire for the day. I’m actually going to bike to CC up 13th rather than 22nd just to see how different things are on the east side of Broad.
First, I think maybe I should reiterate my main point: in the absence of a southbound bike lane west of Broad, I take the lane. We wouldn’t even be having this convo if we had more bike lanes like we have on 22nd, so I hope we can agree to continue to advocate for those and for more infrastructure–like protected ones that we see in other cities and what west Chestnut will have in the future.
Next, of course everyone has to ride in a way that they feel safest. I have no issue letting drivers pass me so long as it’s safe and there’s enough room. I will take my tape measure out to 17th and 19th, but I just don’t think cars can do it safely without putting me in danger. (13th is certainly wider, I know.)
Finally, I need to push back on the that’s-why-drivers-don’t-like-us attitude. Drivers are aggressive towards bicyclists and pedestrians, to be sure, but they are equally inconsiderate of each other. Look, driving is a blood sport and drivers want to “win,” whatever that means. Driving in this city makes people angry. The solution is to advocate for people to drive less when it’s possible and, when it’s not, to urge them to drive more slowly and rein in their anger–not for us to treat drivers like they’re our overlords. Who cares if they like me or if I occasionally inconvenience them? They do the same to me, they do the same to each other when they double park, they do the same to pedestrians when they park in crosswalks, and so on. I don’t want to be liked–I want people to follow the law and not freak out when they encounter a bicyclist.
This has been great conversation. I enjoy talking about biking. My bottom line when riding…assume no one sees you and you will be as safe as possible. Stay safe everyone and at least stay off the sidewalks!
I generally don’t “take the lane” unless I have to and I do I try to give cars room to pass at intersections. Although I have had a few instances recently where people passed while texting and were so close I could have tickled them under the chin. Honestly, I don’t think making 13th and 15th bike priority lanes will make much of a difference. If people don’t respect bike lanes on the streets that have them I doubt they are going to respect a bike corridor. And I don’t think it will discourage motorists from taking another street either. Nice idea but not worth it. Not sure how you can change motorist behavior but I don’t think this is the way.
Cyclists need to remember that they don’t own the road and have to comply with stop signs and traffic lights. I stopped biking to work because the cyclists on the streets of Philadelphia are rude and not very accomodating to cars and other cyclists.
If you really are a biker than you know stopping at all stop signs is ludicrous. If there aren’t cars or pedestrians present why would you stop. I can only speak for myself but I regularly ride at 15 plus MPH and I use a big gear. Stopping for me is pointless unless I don’t have the right of way. This isn’t to say I’m reckless either. As I approach a stop sign I’m looking for traffic and pedestrians. None around and I don’t even think of stopping. I basically do the same for lights but if it’s red for me I’m slowing down with the expectation of stopping but by no means do I stop if it is clear. Just getting your momentum back can be exhausting with constant stops. That is the thing that non bike riders can’t wrap their heads around cause all they do is step on the gas. No energy required for that.
You sure break the law a lot.
And when some innocent driver hits you because you lose concentration just one time and fly through a red light with an oncoming car, can you make sure in advance that your surviving family members don’t sue the driver?
If you don’t have the energy to stop and start to stay within the traffic laws you shouldn’t be riding a bike in the city.
Haven’t been close to being hit. I’ve been doing it a long time and I never fly through a red. Always with caution, always! I can’t say it enough. Riding a bike has also made me a better driver cause you’re always looking. We all have our comfort levels. Stay in them on the street and be safe.
Great discussion here. As a biker, I am always thinking about ways to make our roads safer for all. And, in general biking in Philly is easy and I think fairly safe, as long as all parties on the roads show respect for each other.
And, as “South Philly Biker” said – caution is the key. In an accident situation of biker vs. car – the biker will lose. Every time. So, bike to protect yourself in all cases. This may mean letting the car pass or pulling over in a tight area – so be it – you’ll live to bike another day. And, make positive eye contact with drivers – so everyone is on the same page and can get where they are going safely.
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