Saturday, January 8 by sandy
The U.S. Department of Transportation posted its 2010 Record of Accomplishment, and the WWBPA sees some good things in it. Highlights include anti-distracted driving regulations and encouragement for more transportation opportunities. In particular, it helped level the playing field for bicyclists and pedestrians. This is a big accomplishment, particularly as some think bicyclists and pedestrians could lose out in some of the new Congress’s budget battles (see this analysis from the League of American Bicyclists).
Here’s some of what DOT did, in its own words:
In March 2010, DOT formulated key recommendations for state DOTs and communities to integrate the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians in federally-funded road projects. DOT discouraged transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians and encouraged investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities. Such recommendations include treating walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes, ensuring convenient access for people of all ages and abilities, and protecting sidewalks and shared-use paths the same way roadways are protected. Through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants program, DOT funded major projects across the country that allow Americans to safely and conveniently get where they need to go on a bike or on foot.
One of the TIGER grants “will repair, reconstruct and improve 16.3 miles of pedestrian and bicycle facilities that will complete a 128-mile regional network in six counties around Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey,” including the Schuylkill Trail, with artist’s rendering above.
Tuesday, December 21 by sandy
The National Center for Safe Routes to School awarded Philadelphia’s South of South Neighborhood Association (SOSNA) Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the Universal Institute Charter School (UICS) one of its 2010 mini-grants to encourage safe walking and bicycling to school.
Students and neighbors from SOSNA and UICS painted an intersection mural, “a low-cost way to alert and inform motorists of the school zone,” at 15th and Catharine Streets.
Leading up to the painting project, members of Safe Routes Philly taught bicycle safety to 5th and 6th graders in UICS.
Let us know if you have a creative idea for safe routes in West Windsor. Guidelines for mini-grants are listed on the Safe Routes website.
Saturday, October 9 by sandy
Join the Pennsylvania branch of the East Coast Greenway Alliance for a fundraising bike tour from Trenton to Philadelphia.
Saturday, October 16
8:15 AM – 5:00 PM
Tickets are $50 and there is a registration limit of 40 riders. All proceeds go to the East Coast Greenway Alliance to help construct more of the trail from Maine to Florida. Pre-registered riders from central Jersey can join the group in Trenton (the train from Philly will arrive at 9:38 a.m.; find them in the lobby of the main entrance) and will need to make their own way home. Septa and the RiverLine in Camden are both options.
For more information, go to Trenton to Philly ECG Ride.
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Monday, September 27 by silvia
Cyclist stops for pedestrian (walking his bike) in Sherbrooke/571 crosswalk.
The WWBPA applauds this opinion piece that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer that calls on bicyclists to be more courteous toward pedestrians. The author is Robert M. Kelley, and Inquirer editor.
If you walk much in Center City, this will sound familiar: You wait for the light to change, start crossing with the walk signal. Then – at the last second – you see a bicycle bearing down on you against the light. You stop just before it hits you – even though you had the right-of-way.
A close call for you, but here’s the bicyclists’ side: They are trying to keep up with the fast flow of motor-vehicle traffic – often not by their own choosing but because of the shortage of bicycle lanes – yet they do not feel bound to observe lights or crossings.
Taking the long view, if half the drivers switched to bicycles, the city would be a nicer place with less pollution and noise. If this happened in other cities, the nation could slash its use of fossil fuels. But let’s not pave the road to energy independence with injured pedestrians.
I see both sides of the issue, having spent years navigating heavy traffic on a bicycle. Now, because of a visual disability, I’m mostly a pedestrian.
If anyone should be sympathetic to the bicyclists’ perspective, it’s me. In my teens, I used a bike as my main transportation and covered considerable distances in the Baltimore area. At one point, I was hit by a car that came out of a side street without stopping and was thrown into the middle of York Road, which is the main commercial artery into the city, roughly similar to Broad Street. The driver didn’t stop, but I got the tag number. I had to walk the bike home while holding the front wheel off the ground because the forks were destroyed. When I went to the police station with the tag number, they told me to get lost.
In another episode, I assembled a touring bike from a basic kit and once got thrown over the handlebars after too much experimentation with the gear-shifting derailleur.
More recently, I have been riding motorcycles and have been cut off in traffic more than once.
I understand how it feels to be outmatched and bullied out there, so my default position has long been to see the bicyclists’ point of view.
But some things are too much.
I saw a line of pedestrians on Market Street wait until well after the light had changed to cross. But then a racing-type bicycle with a highly elevated seat came tearing through the light, which had turned red several seconds earlier, doing what appeared to be more than 30 m.p.h. The pedestrians saw the rider just in time to stop, but at that speed, he probably couldn’t have swerved to avoid them, and stopping would have been out of the question.
From behind the wheel of a car, I once came upon a couple riding side by side, taking up a whole lane where there was only one lane in each direction. They meandered along at less than 15 m.p.h. They looked back and noticed the car but refused to drop back to single file to let it pass.
Pedestrians can be annoying, even to other pedestrians, when they don’t move efficiently, but they’re on relatively equal terms.
But when it comes to bicyclists or motor vehicles, we’re not all able to react as quickly as we’d like. In my case, I lost much of my peripheral vision and all of my depth perception because of a head injury, and I can’t drive at night. When I cross Center City on foot to my night job, I can see cars but must try hard to read the flow of other pedestrians. And I will often miss bicyclists running against the light.
So bicyclists, remember that as much as you’d rather not have all those people in your way, many of them are not there by choice. And while it’s possible that some drivers are out to get you, that’s no reason to take it out on the foot traffic.
A little more civility all around would go a long way toward fostering better relations among us non-motorists. It’s not like we don’t have a common enemy or two out there stalking us on four wheels.
Wednesday, June 30 by sandy
Celebrate Bicycling on Car-Free Philadelphia Streets
Sunday, September 12 at 8:00 am
Would you like to bike through the heart of Philadelphia surrounded by bicyclists instead of cars?
Join others for a family-friendly bike tour celebrating the freedom of car-free Philadelphia streets. Ride through historic neighborhoods and explore hidden corners of Fairmount Park. Bicyclists of all skill levels are welcome. Bike Philly rolls rain or shine.
Early-bird Registration ends June 30th and includes a free t-shirt ($10 after).
Click here for more information and registration.
Wednesday, June 16 by sandy
Author Susan Charkes will speak about her book, Day Hikes Near Philadelphia, at the Princeton Public Library on Thursday, June 17 at 7:30 p.m.
The publisher, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), notes:
“This easy-to-use guide will help you explore Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware year-round, from lesser-known excursions to area favorites, including several hikes on the Appalachian Trail. Each trip includes useful information such as a detailed map showing parking areas and natural highlights, and a summary of trip characteristics.”
Susan Charkes’ writing is featured on SustainableLawrence. org; she was an environmental planner for the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association.
Also available from the AMC is Day Hikes Near New York City by Daniel Case.
Friday, April 23 by sandy
Twenty-year old Joseph Genovese, Jr. was sentenced in Philadelphia in April 2010 to seven to 14 years in prison after driving under the influence of marijuana and killing 53-year-old Cindy Grassi and disabling 36-year-old Sandra Wacker in 2008. Philly.com reports that Genovese had pleaded guilty in February to vehicular homicide and aggravated assault. Police report “Genovese was stopped at the red light behind two cars when he swerved around the stopped cars, drove through the light, and hit the two women at high speed as they were in the crosswalk.”
Click here for the entire Philly.com article.
Marijuana: Facts for Teens, from the National Institute on Drug Abuse
Saturday, April 3 by silvia
Critical Mass–those mass urban bike rides that happen at evening rush hour–have gotten a reputation for confrontation. Philadelphia’s Bicycle Coalition is trying something else–Courteous Mass, a Saturday morning ride aimed at changing the tone in the debate about bicycling and bicyclists in Philadelphia. Yes, road rules are to be obeyed.
The one-hour ride begins at 10 a.m. April 10 at the Locust Street crossing of the Schuylkill River Trail.