Biketopia Cometh: A tour of Philly’s (suddenly more impressive) bikeways
On Thursday, a group of urban transportation technocrats visited Philly for a tour of what we do and don't have going on bicycle-wise. They belonged to the National Association of City Transportation Officials, a group which shares ideas and acts as a lobby for better urban-centric transportation (it turns out that transportation money and policy tends to be disseminated at the state level, which skews disproportionately away from urban issues).
Our visitors included Washington, D.C.-based NACTO Executive Director Eric Gilliland, Portland, OR City Traffic Engineer Robert Burchfield and San Francisco Deputy Director of Planning and Development Timothy N. Papandreou.
The tour was lead by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (disclosure: I'm a tee-shirt-owning member), and a few of the chief players from city administration who've been overseeing the actual implementation of Philly's Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan. Bike policy geeks (and angry blowhards) might find this info useful, so here are the brains behind the lanes: Andrew Stober, Chief of Staff at the Mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities; Aaron Ritz, who works under him; Steve Buckley, Deputy Commissioner of Transportation; Charles Carmalt, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator; and Jeanette Brugger, who works on pedestrian and open space issues and the city's Bike & Pedestrian plan for the City Planning Commission.
To give an idea of what this ride was like, our first stop was at the buffered westbound bike lane on Spruce, where we watched a bus and two bicyclists approach the intersection. It was a test-case: the shared use of the lanes by buses and pedestrians is one of those things planners try to plan for.
"Let the bike geekiness begin!" declared....
Read the rest of the story at The City Paper
By Isiah Thompson, The City Paper, November 1, 2010