Friday, December 11, 2009

More Bike Lanes

The two Center City bike lanes which have been added to Pine and Spruce have proven so successful that they will not only become permanent, they may be expanded. Although Inquirer articles seem to contradict each other when it comes to the impact of traffic on these streets, the bottom line is that City Hall has acknowledged no significant increase.

Many Philadelphians take any promotion of pedestrianization or bicycle advocacy as a personal attack. It's no wonder our general population is consistently ranked among the nation's most overweight and unhealthy. Our boroughs are packed with two or three car households accommodated by 18ft wide real estate. It makes no sense to the rational mind, particularly in the walkable boroughs like South Philadelphia that are serviced by limitless public transportation.

We need to stop accommodating cars under the delusion that we are part of suburban New Jersey, force these borough dwellers and suburbanites to take public transportation and walk a few blocks. If someone wants the luxury of driving a car, they should be expected to deal with the traffic. Being an urban car-owner is just that, a luxury, not a right.

If anyone expects this city to progress beyond a post-industrial fallout zone, there will continue to be more and more people and more and more traffic. No one can expect to exponentially accommodate more and more cars indefinitely. When you try that you end up with Detroit, and Philadelphia is far too dynamic to solely focus on getting people in and out, we want them to stay a while and look around. Cities with ample parking are synonymous with cities no one wants to visit. Ever been to Scranton?

People in DC, NYC, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, etc. all accommodate bikes and pedestrians. Why should Philadelphia - one of the most densely populated cities with one of the most expansive public transportation systems in the U.S. - cater to the car first? This isn't just an awesome idea, it's ABOUT TIME!

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