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Bike lanes may soon need Council approval

There’s always room for compromise.

Bike lanes may soon need Council approval

Bicyclists in Center City Philadelphia need to share the road and their marked bike lane with parked Philadelphia Police vehicles along N. 13th St. between Filbert and Arch St. on Friday, February 17, 2012. ( Alejandro A. Alvarez / Staff Photographer )
Bicyclists in Center City Philadelphia need to share the road and their marked bike lane with parked Philadelphia Police vehicles along N. 13th St. between Filbert and Arch St. on Friday, February 17, 2012. ( Alejandro A. Alvarez / Staff Photographer ) Philadelphia Daily News

There’s always room for compromise.

City Council’s Committee on Streets and Services approved a bill sponsored by Councilman Bill Greenlee that would require that the city’s bike lanes be approved by Council.

Under the bill, a bike lane that requires the removal of a parking lane, a travel lane or both must be authorized by City Council. At the end of the hearing Greenlee amended the bill again to allow for an 8-month trial period for pilot bike lanes which was a major sticking point for the Nutter Administration.

An earlier effort to regulate bike lanes languished in Committee last year following intense opposition from bike advocates.

“Council should have the right to establish [a bike lane] by law or not,” Greenlee said, adding that the proposal is in line with other road-related regulations that need Council approval. “I think it’s reasonable.”

Andrew Stober, Chief of Staff for the Mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities, said the changes to the proposal were helpful, but he added the bill should it become law will be another hurdle when it comes to installing bike lanes.

“The challenge will be fitting it onto Council’s schedule,” he said, adding that the latest bill is something the Administration can stomach.

Bike advocates, although still not thrilled about the proposal said they can now live with it.

“We can live with this and so I have confidence in the popularity and effectiveness of bike lanes, but if they truly don’t work for a particular neighborhood it shouldn’t be there,” said Alex Doty, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition.

The bill will be up for a final vote by Council on June 7.

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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