An age-old debate is playing out on a well-traveled street in Philadelphia as a city lawmaker objects to installing a bike lane on 22nd Street from Spring Garden Street to Fairmount Avenue.
A recently resurfaced stretch of 22nd Street has no street markings indicating to drivers if it’s one lane or two, said Sarah Clark Stuart of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. That leads vehicles to dangerously jockey for position. “It needs some traffic calming,” she said. “To help make the whole street safer for the neighbors and the people who use that street to get to and fro.” City Councilman Bill Greenlee said he understands both sides of the issue, but thinks neighbors’ concerns about the bike lane’s impact should rule the day.
“Neighbors and others worry that if that street was made just one lane from Spring Garden to Fairmount for vehicular traffic, that it would inordinately back up the traffic,” he said.
Greenlee said he’s glad Philadelphia is a bicycle-friendly city. But, he, said, “I think we have to remember that most of the people who traverse that street will be in either a car or a bus.” Stuart would like the city to test out the bike lane to see how traffic is affected. A law from a few years ago that gives City Council members increased power in bike lanes designations does not apply in this case because no travel lane would be removed to make way for the cyclist lane.
The city did not anticipate the opposition to thIs bike lane and hopes to work out a solution, said Andrew Stober, a spokesman for the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities.
He said the street cannot be legally marked for two car lanes because it is too narrow.