Kenney: Protected bike lanes needed, but so is funding to pay for them

Mayor Jim Kenney speaks before giving away new bikes Wednesday at a City Hall ceremony. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Mayor Jim Kenney speaks before giving away new bikes Wednesday at a City Hall ceremony. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Responding to another demonstration for better protected bike lanes, Philadelphia’s mayor vowed to improve safety for cyclists in the city. The issue, he said, is how to pay for it.

After giving away 30 bikes to children at City Hall Wednesday, Mayor Jim Kenney said he wants to add protective dividers to bike lanes so cyclists and drivers are separated by more than painted lines. Holding back those plans, he said, is a lack of available funding.

“We do have schools to run and trash to pick up and police to pay,” he said. “And if I were just the mayor of bikes, we would get it done right away. But things have various priorities we need to spend on, and I think we are putting a million and a half into the program.”

The death of cyclist Emily Fredricks last month when she was struck by a privately owned trash truck in the Spruce Street bike lane at 11th Street has put the issue into the spotlight.

“I’m not discounting that it’s a tragedy that happened, but we need to continue to move forward at the pace we are moving forward,” Kenney said.

Adding physical barriers in between bike and car lanes has proven controversial in some neighborhoods.

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