Thirty-nine bicyclists and pedestrians were killed in Philadelphia last year, accounting for one-third of the city’s traffic fatalities, according to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. The coalition cited those statistics in an open letter critical of City Councilman William Green, who said on NBC 10’s At Issue on Sunday that Philadelphians would rather support libraries than a “bike czar.”
John Boyle, the coalition’s advocacy director, said there is no such position. Rather, he said that the city’s pedestrian and bicycle coordinator is the only paid city employee responsible for reducing bicycle and pedestrian deaths. The 39 pedestrian and cyclist fatalities, Boyle said, are only slightly less than the 46 people who died in fires.
“Children and the elderly have to cross dangerous roads to get to Philadelphia’s libraries,” Boyle said. “For example, many have to cross Roosevelt Blvd and Cottman Avenue to get to the Northeast Regional Branch, and Broad and Erie to get to the Nicetown Branch. Both intersections are among the top 5 in the entire state with the highest pedestrian crashes.”