City plans parking-protected bike lane for Chestnut Street in West Philly

At Wednesday’s Vision Zero conference, the city’s Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems (OTIS) shared its plans to build a parking-protected bicycle lane on Chestnut Street between 34th and 45th Streets.

Jeannette Brugger, OTIS’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator who made the “soft announcement” during a panel discussion on safety projects, noted that the street has the highest per-mile crash rate in the city.

The bike lane will be “parking protected”, meaning parked cars will form a buffer between cyclists and moving traffic. The lane is planned for the left side of the road, Brugger said, meaning it will sit between the sidewalk and the parked cars. OTIS expects to begin community outreach and council outreach soon.

The bike lane would require the removal of one of Chestnut’s three automotive vehicle travel lane, meaning it would require city council approval.

OTIS plans to design the project in-house, marking a change for the city, which often hires external consultants to design street safety interventions.

Brugger declined to speak with PlanPhilly about the project, saying that OTIS would make a formal press release later. A video of the session is available on the Bicycle Coalition’s Facebook page.

The Chestnut Street project was identified as a Tier One bicycle network expansion priority in the city’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan Progress Report from December 2015. A study released in June 2015 by the Streets Department supported the feasibility of a proposed parking-protected bike lane on Chestnut Street from 34th to 45th streets. 

Brugger also announced plans for “modified urban intersections” on Broad Street at Walnut and Chestnut Streets. Because of high pedestrian volumes, the city is proposing gently raising the street level at the crosswalk to the same height as the sidewalk. Last year, Philadelphia installed a raised mid-block crosswalk on Arch Street between the Comcast Center and a heavily trafficked Wawa. There’s a similar raised crosswalk on Penn’s campus on 33rd Street leading to Franklin Field.

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