Biker rounding turn on Schuylkill River Trail. Photo via Flickr user Barbara L. Slavin
With the cold weather slowly – painfully – subsiding, the city’s streets, bike lanes and trails will likely see an uptick in commuters, exercisers and tourists.
But what is the state of the infrastructure waiting for them? The off-and-on freezing and thawing of water has left some streets looking like the surface of the moon. In addition, many of the painted lines dividing bike lanes from cars have faded or disappeared entirely.
Responding to this minor crisis, the Streets Department has asked the the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia to help mobilize riders to survey the streets themselves. If riders notice a pothole or rough patch of road, they can submit its location and picture to the Bicycle Coalition, which will share that information with the Streets Department.
Directions from Bicycle Coalition blog:
- E-mail to bike(at)bicyclecoalition.org, with subject line: POTHOLE
- Tweet at Bicycle Coalition (@bcgp) and use the hashtag #POTHOLE
- Post a message on its Facebook page
Visualizing Bike Infrastructure
Kathryn Killebrew, programmer at the local geospatial analysis firm Azavea, has made her own contribution to helping riders use the infrastructure available to them.
She developed a web map using public data that shows the location of bike paths, classified as conventional and buffered, in addition to the type of road, such as collector roads and major and minor arterials. The map also plots out the locations of bike racks in Center City.
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“I hope that putting the Philadelphia bicycle routes and parking locations on a web map will enable cyclists to better find facilities and safe routes for travel, and that this will complement the bike map PDFs made available by the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities,” Killebrew said.
She added that she plans to embed the map into another project she is working on, Cycle Philly, which maps out popular bike routes. Killebrew said she will continue to update the map as bike infrastructure changes and that the map is up on GitHub for others to contribute to.
Measuring Bikers and Pedestrians
Though it is common knowledge that more bikers and pedestrians take to the streets come spring and summer, there is little hard data to support this. Plan Philly reports that the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) is hoping to change this by installing bike counters at four key locations in Philadelphia.
One of DVRPC’s goals for the counter, according to the report, is to better understand seasonal shifts in bike trail use.
New Funding OpportunitiesMayor Nutter biking MLK Drive. Photo via Flickr user Kyle Gradinger
The Commonwealth Financing Authority — the agency that administers funding for economic development in Pennsylvania — announced two new funding sources for bike trail development.
The Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program is offering grants up to $250,000 “for planning, acquisition, development, rehabilitation and repair of greenways, recreational trails, open space, parks and beautification projects.” The application deadline is July 21, 2014.
The Multimodal Transportation Fund, established by the recent PA transportation bill, is offering grants up to $3 million and no less than $100,000 for a wide array of transportation projects, including streetscape improvements, pedestrian safety projects and connections between transportation modes. The application deadline is June 20, 2014.-30-
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