Monday, October 20, 2008

Philly ridership is up, parking is not

Increase ridership in the city of brotherly love has created a new parking problem: where to park your bike. This article in Philadelphia Inquirer does a good job of explaining the steps that the city is taking to get more parking ASAP.
Philadelphia's parking shortage is approaching critical proportions. You see people circling the streets of Center City in an anxious quest for an available space. It's unexpectedly hard to park at institutions such as La Salle University and the Art Museum's Perelman Building. But you really know things have reached a dire state when you have to go blocks to find a pole or parking meter that doesn't already have someone's bicycle hitched to it.

The problem starts when the bikers stop. There just aren't enough bike racks on Philadelphia's heavily used, narrow sidewalks for everyone. Desperate bikers will lock to anything that won't move, like Rittenhouse Square's elegant wrought-iron fence or the railing around SEPTA's 16th Street concourse entrance. The tangle of metal is not pretty.

The Nutter administration hopes to improve the situation somewhat in the next few months. It just ordered 1,500 racks and expects to begin installation in November. The new upside-down "U" racks will bring the sidewalk total to 2,600, distributed through the entire city. It's a far cry from the 10,000 the Bicycle Coalition says are needed.
I always liked Philly as a bike town. Philly is flat and it's main arterial roads are still on the smaller side so riding on Broad and Market is not all that bad. They still need a better over all network, but as the article points out the planning department is now starting to work on a pedestrian and bike plan. I hope we only see more good things coming from Philadelphia in the near future.

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