A bill introduced last month by Eighth District Councilwoman Cindy Bass will give the city funds to install safety measures like speed bumps and bicycle lanes by tacking on $5 to car registration fees. It’ll go into effect in July 2016. At that time, the Philadelphia Streets Department will oversee the construction of any new safety measures on the roads.
“Every part of our city has been impacted by senseless traffic fatalities,” said Bass. “In light of all the traffic deaths and injuries, devoting more resources to slowing cars down will protect all those who use our public thoroughfares —motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, and mass transit riders.”
Low cost measures, like painting new road lines and installing better signs, have already improved road conditions, according to Denise Goren of the Philadelphia Streets Department.
“The federal, state, local laws and ordinances as well as location, season, complexity and scale of improvements from low cost material ones to reengineering entire high risk corridors dictates the schedule for the design and, authorization to proceed into construction,” Goren said.
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia released a Vision Zero report this year that collected information on the number of crashes along with a platform that outlines potential measures the city can take to improve road safety.
The coalition found that fatal crashes were largely attributed to aggressive driving (56 percent) and poor intersection design (43 percent).
Randy LoBasso, Communications Manager of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is advocating for more bike lanes. He also uses the bike lanes on Pine and Spruce streets as examples of areas that have used timed traffic lights to reduce the congestion of a narrower road.
“What Philadelphia needs are protected bike lanes,” LoBasso said.
Philadelphia will be the fourth county in the state to take advantage of the car registration fee.
“There are certainly more steps for our City to take to reach the goal of zero traffic deaths, but providing additional money for proven street safety measures is a step in the right direction,” Bass said in a statement.