Philadelphia Council moving closer to controlling new bike lanes

Philadelphia is a step closer to giving City Council veto power over creating new bike lanes. The bill also gives Mayor Michael Nutter’s office some wiggle room.

Under the bill approved in a committee vote, new Philadelphia bike lanes would need City Council’s blessing and the council would hold hearings to get public input.  

Councilman William Greenlee amended the bill to allow for trying out new bike lanes without City Council approval.

“I’m hoping the establishment of this ordinance will make it clear you have to work with everybody because, if it doesn’t come out the way you want, if council doesn’t pass the bill, it will be taken away,” Greenlee said.

Sometimes a new lane needs approval before City Council can take up the matter, said Sarah Clark Stewart of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

“If there’s a delay, that will kill a bike lane, because bike lanes can only go in when streets are repaved and repainted,” Stewart said. “There’s no opportunity to go back.”

The legislation could pass all of council as soon as next week.

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