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1608 Walnut Street | 12th Floor | Philadelphia, PA 19103 | 215.546.6719 | email: centercity@centercityresidents.org

Below are the comments we received in emails about the bike lanes.  We've omitted those comments that simply expressed approval or disapproval without reasoning.  

The thought that has been put into these comments speaks well of our community, no matter how the writer came down on the issue.  

The order of the comments is based on the order they were cut-and-pasted from the emails and reflects no judgment about the merits of the comment or the position taken.  The comments have all been "anonymized" (if we missed something identifying, please email us & we will fix it ASAP). 

We recently learned of the intention to install permanent bike lane dividers on the north side on Lombard Street from the 2200 thru the 2700 blocks. Although these are noted as "flexible" posts, we have concerns as residents in the 2200 block.

We agree with many already submitted complaints of problems to be caused by this installation such as: blockage of the traffic lane by school buses, SEPTA buses, trash trucks, etc. We are primarily concerned due to the fact that the western half of the north side of the 2200 block of Lombard contains 8 side-by-side garage doors. Do you intend to install posts in front of these doors (that seems illogical). Further (and perhaps selfishly) we drive an expensive car and do not intend to damage the front or back bumpers driving over these posts to enter/exit our garage; nor do we intend to damage the sides which may be caused by close proximity of posts as we turn into and out of our garage. Further, any potential damage to tires which may be caused by whatever is used to affix these posts to the street.  Even further, snow plows will merely push snow into the posts making it even MORE difficult to enter/exit our garage in the winter. It's always been a challenge but this is unnecessary aggravation.

That said, as former bikers ourselves, we do understand the need for bike lanes and have adhered to their use throughout the city. But, this appears to be the only area which has been targeted for these posts.  In fact, the bike lane on the UPenn campus actually crosses over the right turn lane - yet no posts are installed. Rather, the bike lane is clearly marked by green paint and barrier stripes on the pavement - people adhere to the shared usage.

The installation of these posts seems punitive to those of use living on these blocks - we've been here 20+ years. I've attached a photo of the garages in question (from Croskey Street to 23rd on the north side of the 2200 block of Lombard) as reference.

We'll appreciate hearing a response to this inquiry. Many thanks.

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I am writing to express my opposition to the proposed bike lane divider posts on the Lombard St. bike lane.  As a resident of Lombard Street and a frequent bicyclist, I am in favor of the lane itself and applaud the proposed repainting, but installation of divider posts is ill-advised.  It will force buses, trash trucks, delivery vehicles and residents dropping off and picking up into the lone traffic lane, causing huge delays on what is already crammed rush-hour thoroughfare.  I fear the increased frustration and resulting driver improvisations will reduce not  increase overall safety.

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I am writing in opposition to the installation of permanent delineator posts along the 2200-2700 blocks of Lombard Street. I have lived on the 2300 block of Lombard for almost 20 years.  We purchased our historical 1860's Lombard Street home (no garage or parking spot) because we love the fabric and history of the city. We want to share the block with walkers, drivers, bikers, skate boarders, and SEPTA! 

Councilman Johnson, since I received notification from CCRA about the permanent delineator posts, I have spent several days working from home so that I could watch the bike traffic on my block. Yes, there are times in the morning between 7am-9am when there are several bikes heading west. But, between 10am-4pm there have been many days when I have counted zero or just one bike passing by an hour! Yes, it is summer, but this shows that permanent, 24/7 pole delineators are advantageous to one group but not to the entire urban community.

We have been sharing the bike lane for years. Our parents are elderly and physically challenged, requiring help to get in and out of a cab to visit us. When we use the bike lane to drop off packages or relatives it takes just 60-90 seconds. We then proceed to search for parking (which takes an average of 10-15 minutes on a good day!).  If we cannot continue to share the bike lane, as we do now, we will be forced to use the car lane to drop off our parcels and our families before finding parking. This will cause more traffic tie-ups east on Lombard.

What is further perplexing is that, according to the Bicycle Coalition website, “On streets with right-hand bike lanes, the bicycle lane is the proper load/unload position for vehicles.” “The bike lanes are the legal loading/unloading zone for delivery trucks and private vehicles dropping off people or cargo.”

All of the city’s bike lanes should be well maintained and brightly painted. This lane sorely needs new paint. I would welcome low rumble strips along the lane to slow traffic as well.

We must all share the limited, narrow space of Philadelphia’s streets equally.

It appears that those who invested in maintaining the city’s original, historical 1860’s homes sans garages are being penalized and singled out.

I want to simply continue to share the lane that, by the Bicycle Coalition’s own statement, we are allowed to use to load and unload.

Why would you give bikers their own lane 24/7, 365 days/year while there are vast stretches of time when there are NO BIKERS using these lanes?

Thank you for re-painting the bike lanes, for maintaining them more often, and for keeping them shareable for both bikers and residents.

With gratitude for all you do in service to your constituents and for Philadelphia.

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My husband and I live at [redacted] Lombard Street and we were recently made aware of new bike lane divider posts that may be installed on our block in the near future.

I'm writing to you to strongly suggest that this project not move forward as it is currently planned. It will drastically impact our ability to remain in our current home as we are dependent on the ability to pull our car up and bring our new baby into our house. As I understand, this is legally allowed by the Bicycle Coalition rules and it is our right to be able to pull up for a brief period of time.

As I'm sure you are aware, it is extremely difficult to find a home with private parking in the city. Given this, many people, including ourselves, do not have a private driveway or garage. Our entire block of Lombard between 24th and 25th has no garages. We really love living in the city and giving back to the wonderful community of Fitler Square but if these bike dividers are installed and our ability to get our baby into our house is blocked then we will have to seriously reconsider if the city of Philadelphia is the right place for us to reside. I'm sure we are not alone as the majority of people in this neighborhood are families and have small children. I always felt that Philadelphia was a welcoming city to young families and I'm encouraged that so many more people are staying longer to raise their children. However, this new project seems to be in direct conflict with that view and may end up pushing many families out of the city, including us.

I understand the need to create a safe environment for bikers passing through but is there no other way to do that besides giving them exclusive access to such an important space for the residents who are living here everyday?

Thank you for your consideration.

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I am a resident of the 2300 Block of Lombard Street and I strongly oppose the installation of delineator posts for bicycle lanes on Lombard Street for the following reasons:

1.  Traffic flow--Without the ability for cars to pull around buses or trash trucks, the neighborhood, which is already extremely congested during rush hour, will be come even more congested. 

2.  Emergency Route--there are many emergency vehicles that travel down Lombard Street, especially ambulances going to the University City hospitals.  Without the flexibility of being able to pull into the bike lanes, these emergency vehicles can potentially be detained as they wait for cars to attempt to pull over at the end of blocks.

3.  Parking--currently parallel parking on Lombard Street is extremely difficult due to the heavy traffic volume.  By removing the ability to pull around parkers, parking will become even more difficult and contribute to increased neighborhood traffic. 

4.  Access for loading and unloading.  Without access for loading and unloading, it can be extremely difficult for residents in the middle of the block to access homes.  As a parent of young children, without being able to pull my car up in front of my house, I have no way to deposit purchases in the home with 2 small children in my arms without pulling up in front of my home to unload briefly.  .

If the city is as concerned about the safety of bicycles as this project suggests, perhaps reallocating funds for police to monitor drivers' use of bike lanes and bikes adhering to traffic laws. would enhance safety of both bicycles and the neighborhood.  The posts are attempting to solve a problem that is already illegal.  To support bikes, pedestrians, and cars sharing the road safely, cars and bikes must all be held to the same traffic laws and aggressive driving and riding should be addressed. 

Thank you for your attention to our neighborhood concern and thank you for considering the many different view points on this important issue.

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I am writing to express my concern regarding the permanent bike lane poles.

My daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren live on the north side of the 2300 block of Lombard Street. I have enjoyed many happy visits over the 20  years they have owned their home. They do not have a garage or a parking spot. They are true urban dwellers as am I. I live at the Kennedy House in center city.

I am 83 years old. I use a walker and need a bit of help getting into and out of a car and can only walk a limited amount. I take cabs to/from their house once a week or more to visit.

Councilman, I need to be able to pull up to their home and have them come out to help me out of the cab and into their house.  At this stage, I do not believe I would be able to visit otherwise, and I do not see how I could visit in the cold or rain if I had to exit the cab on the opposite side or a block away.

I’d also like you to know that I rarely see bikes using the lane at the times I visit. And when I have seen bikes they never seem upset to move around the cab so that an elderly person who needs assistance can enter/exit the cab.

I do not believe it takes me more than one or two minutes to get into or out of the cab.  I would like to understand why poles are needed. Why can’t bikers share the lane with the rest of the community? These old, narrow city streets were designed for horses and pedestrians --not cars, bikes and SEPTA buses.  Why can’t there be a compromise like better painting, more signage, and perhaps low bumps to slow down traffic? We choose to live in the city to co-exist, to share, to have community.  Isolating a lane just for bikes when the lane isn’t being used 24/7 by bikes is really discriminatory.  Don’t we have the right to be discharged on the right hand side for 1-2 minutes?

Thank you for finding a compromise to permanent poles to better demarcate the bike lanes.

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I live on 24th and Waverly Street. I AM NOT OPPOSED to reasonable (perhaps flexible) markers for bike lanes. I think flexible markers, with a bus bump where relevant (and a load unload zone on the blocks where there are stores/houses) --and even perhaps green paint as well would be a big help to mixed-use traffic. Also to traffic calming.

I am grateful to all efforts to discourage use of our streets as freeways, speed courses, and even non-essential commuting.  I am not interested in the current fuss being made about the divider posts, although of course they should be flexible, not inflexible (common sense).

I also think that bikes should be given tickets as well as cars by a judicious placement of police officers to encourage obedience to ALL traffic rules (including bike helmets). A few weeks of this kind of encouragement would be a big help.

Unfortunately, I will be out of town at the meeting-time. So I am writing this note to you, with thanks. Not everyone in your district is so riled up about ways of defining bike lanes. I think it is a GOOD THING to define bike lanes and to work out any issues about them, not to reject them by implicit claims that people who own houses on a block somehow control the streets in front of those houses.

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I am respectfully sending you my concerns and my request NOT to have permanent bike lane divider posts installed on 2200 - 2700 Lombard Street.

The Center City Residents Association have summed up the concerns very well:

Bikes are not traveling 24 / 7 on these blocks.  Bike traffic is very minimal throughout most of the day and night.  During rush hour, it is never more than one person deep.

Why would a hard separation be considered in an area of the city that is predominately residential and does not have the width to accommodate it?  I live across from the Philadelphia School and it is already a problem for Septa buses to get past the school buses during the school year.  This would only make matter worse.

Thank you for your support!

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I live on the south side of the 2500 block of Lombard St. and I am strongly OPPOSED to the new bike lane proposal.

Lombard Street is already under school and rush hour traffic stress and it will only get worse when the CHOP facility opens on the South St. Bridge. The flex barriers will create a traffic nightmare if cars and buses have to block traffic completely in order to load and unload passengers and groceries, etc.

I do support low road bumps and brightly painted bike lanes that are maintained and clearly marked. We also need clear traffic signs that direct where cars should enter right turns and bicyclists should travel.

Right now all over the city the bike lanes are faded to non existent. I think some clarity on the roads would help us all respect each others rights to the road.

The flex barriers are appropriate on the South Street Bridge but not on a residential street. Please do not fence in my dear neighbors on the north side of Lombard St.

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I am writing to express my strong opposition to the installation of permanent bike lane dividers on the 2200 -2700 blocks of Lombard and South Streets in our city. 

My wife and I live at [redacted] Lombard, are both cyclists, lovers of this city, and parents of small children. 

While I share what seems to be common concern over the misuse of the bicycle lane, particularly by motorists using it as a passing lane during rush hour,  the disruption and additional congestion this would cause outweighs that concern.

We do use the area directly in front of our home to unload  our 4 and 1 year old children, as well as to unload groceries and other goods that we are purchasing from Philadelphia businesses.  Taking away the ability to load and unload  in front of our house will make living in our city with children more dangerous, and it will also force us to purchase more food, goods, clothes, etc. online,  and not from Philly businesses. 

Many others have pointed  to the Bicycle  Coalition’s own website that states the bike  lane is the lawful area for loading and unloading along these blocks, so I won’t dwell on that – but I would  like to pose a question as to why there is little to no enforcement of the bike lanes as respects moving traffic.  Unlike loading and unloading, speeding down the bike lane in a vehicle IS illegal, yet there  is  no action taken by our police officers to protect bikers. 

I also agree  with other residents in the area that less drastic measures – rumble strips / raised bumps / painted lanes are a logical first step in exploring ways to make the  city safer for bikers and motorists alike. 

Thank you for taking time to consider my views.

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I am writing to voice my opposition to the proposed installation of permanent bike lane divider posts on the 2200-2700 blocks of Lombard Street. I am an owner of property on the north side of the 2300 block of Lombard Street and a dues paying member of the CCRA. I am particularly concerned about the additional disruption these posts will cause to these already congested blocks of Lombard Street.  I don't know how they could not have a significant impact on the ability of city buses to load and unload, on residents' ability to parallel park on the south side of the street and for residents to be able to load and unload on either side of Lombard Street. Loading and unloading will be a particularly acute problem on the 2300 block of Lombard Street as several owners have a need to load or unload very young children or older parents who are under the owners' care.

I am a supporter of the benefit of fewer cars on the city streets which is a byproduct of encouraging biking and I support bike safety, but the installation of permanent dividers seems to be an overreaction. I would instead suggest that funds be directed to enforcing the current traffic laws (which already prohibit driving in bike lanes or stopping in such lanes except for limited loading and unloading). Additional uniformed police enforcing traffic laws would yield safety benefits for bikers and would generally make the neighborhood safer for all, instead of imposing a significant burden on all residents to provide a limited (and what should technically be unnecessary) benefit to a small subset of people, many of which are likely not residents of the affected blocks. 

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As a 77-year old resident of S. Croskey Street, I strongly object to the proposed addition of bike dividers on Lombard Street between 22nd and 27th Streets.

Being old, I depend on the Number 40 bus for transportation.  Having to cross an active bike lanes would pose a serious hazard.  Bicycle riders already pose a hazard:  they often ignore stop signs, run red lights, and speed silently along with little regard for pedestrians; no attempt seems to be made to enforce the rule that they must obey traffic laws.  Dividing a street in the manner proposed privatizes public domain in an unfair manner, rewarding the few at the expense of the many.

PLEASE STOP THE ENACTMENT OF THIS HAZARD!

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I am writing because of my concerns about the proposed bike barriers on the 2400 block of Lombard street.

I live on this block and though we don't use it all the time - the ability for us and neighbors to pull up to our homes and unload our families (several have small children) is really essential. I honestly don't think I would have been able to take my newborns to their pediatrician visit in the rain a few weeks ago without the ability to pull up to my home. Nor could their 92 year old great grandfather have visited our home if we did not have this flexibility.

My family also utilizes Philadelphia's bike friendly streets and I think the added benefit of this lane for bikers does not out way the extra general congestion that will ensue when drivers are parallel parking on the street and families are finding alternate ways to transport their most vulnerable family members.

We of course would be in favor of a brightly painted bike lane or something less permanent which would meet the needs of all residents.

Thank you so much for reading this and I appreciate your consideration of the matter and attention to the impact it would have on my family.

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We just received notification about the proposed barriers for the bike lane on Lombard St, and we are emphatically in FAVOR of this plan. As both cyclists and drivers who live on the impacted street (at [redacted] Lombard St), we use the bike lane frequently and are regularly in danger of cars who want to drive recklessly to pass a slow moving vehicle, or we need to go around a car that has been left in the bike lane and thus battle cars for a spot in the regular road (and drivers are NOT generous to bikers). A number of our colleagues also travel by bike to work using this lane, and the number would increase-- decreasing the car congestion in Center City-- if the lane were more safely designed for people who are hesitant to 'fight' traffic to make it around the city on bicycle.

We will pass this information on to our colleagues and encourage them to contact you with their opinion as well, but the information has not been well distributed to our age/work group. Today was the first that we heard of it, and none of neighbors or work colleagues have mentioned this, despite living in the same area (we commute over the South St bridge for work).

We hope that the city will approve this plan as it moves forward in designing a commuting plan that fits the needs of all the residents using the streets, not just cars!

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I wanted to write to you in strong support of the plan to install a protected bike lane on Lombard and South Streets from 22nd to the South Street Bridge.  I live at 24th and Lombard, on one of the impacted blocks, and would see this project as a great improvement to the neighborhood.  As both a cyclist and motorist, I frequently see the bike lane on our block used by impatient drivers to get ahead a few cars at all times of day, impeding the flow of bicycles down the street and, most importantly, putting cyclists at risk of being hit. 

I appreciate your efforts to improve the safety of our neighborhood for cyclists and to promote sustainable transportation around the entire city.

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I am a resident of the 400 block of South Croskey Street, which is between Pine Street and Lombard Street and 22nd and 23rd Streets. I am strongly opposed to the proposed installation of posts or other barriers for the bike lanes on Lombard Street.

Lombard Street is a residential street with parking on one side only. Already, parking in the Fitler Square neighborhood is difficult to well-nigh impossible to find on evenings and weekends. Residents who return to their houses with groceries or other items to unload, or small children to get safely into the house, cannot expect to find parking anywhere near their houses.  It is routine, and necessary, for residents to pull their cars over to the curb, unload quickly, and then search for parking, a process that can take upwards of an hour and require the resident to park five or six blocks, or more, away from his or her house. Installing barriers for the bike lanes will prevent residents from pulling over to unload.  Very likely, we will be forced to stop in the street, rather than pulling over to the side.  Lombard is already a congested street, with traffic backups that inconvenience not only drivers but also SEPTA buses. Adding bike barriers will only worsen the existing traffic problems.

This area is not heavily traveled by bicyclists.  There are comparatively few cyclists traveling on Lombard Street. Causing great inconvenience to homeowners, other drivers (probably including people traveling to the new CHOP building), and SEPTA riders for a doubtful benefit to a few cyclists (many of whom are probably students, and therefore only transitory residents of the neighborhood) is entirely unwarranted.

Please note that the proposal to install these barriers was not widely publicized. I became aware of it only through an e-mail from a neighbor.  Therefore, the small number of comments from neighborhood residents should not be taken as signifying general acceptance or apathy.

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I write you to strongly oppose the proposed Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems (OTIS) for “South/Lombard Streets Protected Bicycle Lanes.” I reside at [redacted] Lombard street, within the proposed region. My family and our neighbors will be severely negatively affected by permanent barriers on our block. Permanent barriers on our street would prevent my ability to load and unload our young children, would impact the ease of package delivery and would likely increase congestion on an already busy street.

I want to start by saying that I am also a biker and strongly believe in bicycle safety and the availability of prominently visible bicycle lanes. HOWEVER, adding a permanent barrier in this residential area is not the answer for the following reason.

1.       Safety of loading/unloading young children

Many families live on our street. I have a family of three young children – infant twins and a three year old. For the safety of my children, the ability pull close to our house for 3 minutes for loading and unloading the children is invaluable.  We have found that doing so still allows both traffic and bicycles to navigate without problems. 

2.       Package delivery

It should be no surprise that the volume of package delivery had dramatically increased throughout the city. As we have three young children we certainly take advantage of online shopping. The ability of delivery vehicles to stop briefly for unloading heavy items without blocking traffic. I have also observed the flow of both vehicle traffic and bicycles is not impeded when delivery vehicles pull into the bike lane.

3.       Increased Congestion

It is no surprise that this is a busy section of the city, with access to the south street bridge, I-76 entrance, and addition of the new CHOP building.  The flexibility of the wider road without permanent barriers has eased the congestion somewhat by allowing traffic not to be further hampered when (a) someone is parallel parking, (b) bus #40 is picking up passengers, (c) families are loading/unloading children, (d) a package is being delivered, (e) a construction vehicle is present, (f) school busses are pulled over in front of the Philadelphia School. With permanent barriers, all these activities would block traffic and increase overall congestion and noise.  It is important to also note that my observation is that bicycle traffic is light most of the day (with the exception of rush hour).

ALTERNATIVE – Brightly Painted Bike Lane

I also think that there may be some alternate approaches to address what I think the intent of the of the proposal  - to increase biker safety. Perhaps the  OTIS could explore increasing visibly of the bicycle lanes without permanent barriers -  which would be an acceptable alternative. Increasing visibility of the bicycle lanes with bright green paint (as is currently used on the South Street Bridge) may meet the needs of both bikers and residents, of which I am both. As biker I have experienced that a brightly colored bike lane draw attention to the separation and helps create a safer riding experience- without the need for a physical separation.

I respectively ask for your support in this important matter.

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I live in the 2200 block of Lombard Street and concur with my neighbors who are opposed to the so-called “enhancements” to the bike lane. Bikers use the lane only in the morning and the late afternoon. The use doesn’t warrant the disruptions that would be caused. In fact, the flexible barriers would create more problems than may exist now.

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I am in favor of improved bike lanes, lane marking and crosswalks on Lombard Street between 22nd and 27th. However, I strongly disapprove of the idea of lane dividers. This stretch of Lombard Sreet is already very congested, with only one lane for traffic.  The additional new traffic lights on the South Street Bridge have caused a bottleneck that stretches back to Lombard Street, at busy times as far back as 22nd Street. There is also the issue of buses having to stop traffic, potentially at each intersection, while dropping off and picking up passengers. Removing the bike lanes for turning traffic, buses and getting around immobilized vehicles would greatly increase the backup that is already present. This idea seems very poorly suited for this location. I urge you to fight against this move by OTIS.

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I am writing to express my opposition to the proposed installation of bike posts on Lombard St. I do so as a recreational bicycle rider who would find these posts to constitute a significant safety concern.  Moreover, the proposed posts would be a big inconvenience and potential hazard to the residents and visitors of the affected blocks, as well as to drivers and riders of the #40 bus.  It is not at all clear that there is a problem that requires fixing;  if there is, I urge you to work with the Office of Transportation to consider more appropriate remedies that would not create more serious issues.

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I live at [redacted] Lombard Street.  My house is on the bike lane side of the street.  My wife is handicapped, and I have to park temporarily in the bike lane to help her up our front steps.  Bicyclists can still pass on my street side, because autos are tolerant and give the bicyclists a break.  

If the bicyclists want more room, I would suggest passing an ordinance which would allow cars to park on the sidewalk, temporarily, say 20 minutes, to load or unload. The car would have two wheels on the sidewalk and two in the street.  There is no problem when bikers use the car lane to pass, but parking partly on the sidewalk would allow them to pass the car without using the car lane.  Sidewalks on Lombard street are quite wide and there would still be room for pedestrians to pass, even a pedestrian with a baby stroller. 

The real threat to bicyclists' safety is the attitude of some bicyclists.  If I signal for a right turn at a corner, and see a bicyclist behind me in my passenger side mirror, I can practically guarantee that the cyclist will ignore my signal and pass me on the right.  Does the cyclist have the right of way in this situation?   Do not know but the behavior is foolish in any case.  Some driver is NOT going to see the bicycle. And don't get me started on bicyclists who run red lights.   Divider posts will not change bad attitude.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

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As a resident of the 2300 block of Lombard Street, I am deeply concerned about the proposed “delineator posts” for the bike lanes.

I am in favor of the repainting of the crosswalks and the existing bike lanes – repainting is long overdue.  Our block is (or was) marked as a BUS and bike lane, and the repainting will help motorists to understand that a bike/bus lane exists. 

But our shared street space will NOT support the delineator posts.  I am sure that many residence have made the arguments against the delineator posts citing our residential need for shared space of pick-up and drop-off by cars.  I would like to stress that the SEPTA and Philadelphia School buses too would be very inconvenienced – and may put waiting passengers at risk, if the delineator posts were put up.  The disabled and those with baby strollers would be particularly at risk of injury from passing cyclists if the “bike lane” is dedicated solely for bike use. 

It would be MOST sensible to begin with repainting the crosswalks and existing bike lanes (and painting the bike lanes green as UPenn has done on the South Street bridge).  Then, if further “separation” is required between bike and vehicles – then take another look at the use of a barrier between the bike/Bus lane and traffic. 

If the University of Pennsylvania did not feel the need for delineator posts on the South Street bridge, why does the City feel we need them on city streets?   The University did see the importance of painting the bike lanes green. 

Please do NOT allow these PERMANENT dividers to be installed on our streets. They are dangerous, inconvenient, and UGLY. 

PS.  Why not REPAVE the streets prior to repainting??

A further comment on the subject:  What happens in the winter when we get a big snow?  “Permanent” lane dividers will make it very difficult to plow the main road, and impossible to plow clear the bike lane.  I guess the bike lane wouldn’t get cleared, and then the bikes would have to ride in the street too until the snow melted?   What a mess?

And recently, we had the PGW truck outside of our house (jack hammering) for two days – but traffic was able to get around the truck – bikes were minimally inconvenienced. 

Better rethink the “permanent” bike lane divider posts….

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As a Center City resident, bike enthusiast and occasional motorist I am writing to share my concern about the decision to install bike lane delineators along Lombard St (2200-2700). With the increasing flow of commuter traffic to CHOP/Penn there is a definite need to better protect cyclists and bike lane delineators are one of several options. However, on the flip side of the argument, residents on Lombard St. should have curb side access for drop-offs and pick-ups. I would not want to see children or elders crossing the bike lane to get out of or into cars that may very well be holding up traffic for 2-3 minutes at a time. I am not an expert on strategies to improve bike/automobile/pedestrian relations but the safety interests of all parties should be taken into consideration. Painted bike lanes, turtle bumps, and well-spaced delineators spanning several car lengths are a few alternatives that might be better suited for everyone concerned. I hope that a thoughtful solution will be identified and shared with residents of the impacted area. Thank you for your consideration.

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I'd like you to know that I am highly in favor of protecting bicycle riders throughout the City and am delighted that my block is part of the above reference project.   I live at [redacted] Lombard St on the north side, so I will be directly impacted by this project.  I have read the brochures of people who do not support this and can understand that they don't like being unable to pull their cars in front of their residence to drop off groceries or other large parcels.  My suggestion for this would be to make one or two temporary loading spots on the opposite side of each block where they can park and unload.   It's not as convenient, but it does solve the most important objection of those directly impacted.   Some are concerned about traffic congestion, but we have many bridges crossing the Schuylkill river and drivers will adjust such that the load balances within a short period of time.  Computer simulations show this time after time.

I am also a bicycle rider, although I mostly ride on Pine, Spruce, 13th and 12th Sts as I work at [redacted].  It is so dangerous out there at most times of the day.   Trucks and cars regularly block the lanes and bicycle riders are forced to mingle directly with traffic.  I have witnessed several near misses of bicyclers who are just trying to get by the vehicles blocking the lanes.  The lanes are also in such bad condition - they are poorly marked and filled with pot holes and rough patches that force bicyclers to have their teeth jarred or to ride in the center where the road is in better shape.  

Please  support this project. We need to get the cars off the road, not bicyclers.  We also need to promote safety and encourage other sustainable transportation choices.  The latter is especially the case now that our so called president has withdrawn us from the Paris Climate agreement.

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I am extremely concerned about the plan to install delineating posts separating the bicycle lane on 2200-2700 Lombard Street. This is only a single lane road, and dropping off children would become impossible under the plan or would lead to a complete blockage of the road. The street is also very congested during the morning and evening rushes and would back up further with bus traffic that would slow the traffic flow to a halt. It is truly a poor idea; we all must share the road and share our public spaces on the city.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.

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As a resident of Fitler Square for almost 30 years (I have lived at [redacted] South Croskey for 26 years) and as an active member of the community I would like to ask your assistance in stopping the permanent installation of poles to demarcate the bicycle lanes beginning at the 2200 Block Lombard Street extending to the 2700 Block of Lombard Street.

Please note:

•How is the 40 SEPTA Bus Route going to stop and take on/off passengers at each of these corners along its current route? 
•Since the opening of the new CHOP building on the South Street Bridge (along with the additional traffic light there), traffic has consistently backed up as far as 19th/Lombard during the morning and evening commutes. This will exacerbate an already difficult time on these blocks.
•Bike traffic is very minimal throughout most of the day and night - busy only at rush hour (and even then, never more than one-person deep).
•The Bicycle Coalition’s own Rules of the Road indicate “on streets with right-handed bike lanes, the bicycle lane is the proper load/unload position for vehicles, for delivery trucks and private vehicles dropping off people or cargo.” Where will delivery trucks and utility trucks unload?
•The 2200 block of Lombard has garages & The Philadelphia School on 2500 has a bus drop off lane – are they exempt from posts but 2200-2400residents are impacted?
•It would become virtually impossible to exit Croskey Street onto Lombard, it is a difficult task now especially during rush hour, if there is only one lane of traffic the egress from the street would essentially be blocked.
•Physically challenged, aging parents & grandparents need help getting out of cars and into our homes. Are their needs being considered?
•Dropping off infants, half-asleep kids, large/heavy parcels, and aging parents only takes 2 minutes.
•Why permanent posts? Why not use something low that allows residents to pick up/discharge passengers and parcels?
•If the bike lane can't be shared with cars then the car lane will be used to drop off cargo and passengers. This is a safety risk and will also cause increased traffic delays.
•The safety and convenience of bikers, motorists, and homeowners must all be considered as part of this proposed change. 

I join my neighbors is asking your assistance in preventing implementation of this disastrous plan that will create gridlock and safety issues in Fitler Square.

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As a homeowner on the north side of the 2300 block of Lombard, I write in reference to the following proposal:

"No. 13. South/Lombard Streets Protected Bicycle Lanes: Lombard Street has a bike lane from 22nd Street until it curves at the base of the South Street Bridge. South Street has a bike lane from the bridge until 22nd. Both of these will be upgraded with delineator posts."

As a long-time resident of the city who chose to live in an 1860s house without parking, I welcome an increased focus on bicycle and pedestrian circulation.  That is what attracted me to the city and this neighborhood in the first place.  At the same time, vehicular traffic continues to increase, particularly since the recent opening of CHOP’s new research building on the South Street Bridge.  My concern is that the narrow streets of Center City cannot support lanes that are 100% dedicated to a single use – there just is not adequate width.  Cities that have implemented successful dedicated bike lanes have much wider streets, such as New York and Chicago. 

We need to share the extremely limited dimension available on Lombard Street.  In addition, the reality of modern life is that many homeowners need to pull up and drop off young children, aging parents/grandparents, as well as large/heavy parcels, and then move along.  Delivery services, such as UPS, Fedex, and USPS need space to pause and make deliveries.  Furthermore, aging infrastructure means frequent repairs by PECO, PGW, and PWD, with their vehicles parked on our blocks.  All of this activity translates into the need to retain as much flexibility as possible.  If the bike lane cannot be shared with cars at least during certain times, there will be no choice but to block the car lane.  For this reason, I support upgrading the current bike lanes through paint, signage, and possibly low in-ground bumps that delineate the lane, but not through the proposed delineator posts.

It is interesting to note the Bicycle Coalition’s statement on right-hand bike lanes: “On streets with right-hand bike lanes, the bicycle lane is the proper load/unload position for vehicles.  The bike lanes are the legal loading/unloading zone for delivery trucks and private vehicles dropping off people or cargo.” http://bicyclecoalition.org/ride-your-bike/bike-laws/philadelphia-bike-laws/#sthash.qXyHd0ti.dpbs.

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As a homeowner on the north side of the 2300 block of Lombard, I write in reference to the following proposal:

"No. 13. South/Lombard Streets Protected Bicycle Lanes: Lombard Street has a bike lane from 22nd Street until it curves at the base of the South Street Bridge. South Street has a bike lane from the bridge until 22nd. Both of these will be upgraded with delineator posts."

As a long-time resident of the city who chose to live in an 1860s house without parking, I welcome an increased focus on bicycle and pedestrian circulation.  That is what attracted me to the city and this neighborhood in the first place.  At the same time, vehicular traffic continues to increase, particularly since the recent opening of CHOP’s new research building on the South Street Bridge.  My concern is that the narrow streets of Center City cannot support lanes that are 100% dedicated to a single use – there just is not adequate width.  Cities that have implemented successful dedicated bike lanes have much wider streets, such as New York and Chicago.  We need to share the extremely limited dimension available on Lombard Street.  In addition, the reality of modern life is that many homeowners need to pull up and drop off young children, aging parents/grandparents, as well as large/heavy parcels, and then move along.  Delivery services, such as UPS, Fedex, and USPS need space to pause and make deliveries.  Furthermore, aging infrastructure means frequent repairs by PECO, PGW, and PWD, with their vehicles parked on our blocks.  All of this activity translates into the need to retain as much flexibility as possible.  If the bike lane cannot be shared with cars at least during certain times, there will be no choice but to block the car lane.  For this reason, I support upgrading the current bike lanes through paint, signage, and possibly low in-ground bumps that delineate the lane, but not through the proposed delineator posts. 

It is interesting to note the Bicycle Coalition’s statement on right-hand bike lanes: “On streets with right-hand bike lanes, the bicycle lane is the proper load/unload position for vehicles.  The bike lanes are the legal loading/unloading zone for delivery trucks and private vehicles dropping off people or cargo.”

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I am a resident at 2307 Lombard Street and member of CCRA.  We are on the north side of the street and will be directly impacted by the dividers added to the bike lane.  Our family strongly opposes the bike lane dividers. As a family with 2 small children we need to briefly use the lane to unload in front of our house.  There is no way that I can get groceries, a baby and and toddler into the house on my own without being able to pull up and drop off groceries/packages before circling for parking.  There are no other places to stop on our block to load quickly and the removal of the bike like will likely result in cars stopping in the flow of traffic to load/unload passengers, which will substantially increase the traffic on our very busy block. 

As the bike lane stands now, I am frequently almost hit as a pedestrian by bicycles running lights and I worry that giving a lane with dividers gives bicycles an even greater sense that they do not have to obey traffic lights.  It is extremely difficult to cross in cross walks with small children due to the heavy traffic volume  and bicycles and having more bikes that run lights will only increase the danger to the many families in the neighborhood with small children. 

Thank you for taking the time to collect resident input before taking a position on this issue.  We truly value the ability to have input into a decision that will strongly alter our neighborhood dynamic.

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Thank you for your e-mail. We live at [redacted] Lombard and would strongly oppose this proposal for three reasons:

1. The right hand side of the 2200 block is designated "no parking," which means (per PPA policy) that the curb lane may be used for up to 20 minutes for unloading, etc. We, like others in the neighborhood, have small children in car seats and regularly use the right hand curb lane to unload our kids, get them in the house, etc. That would not be possible if the right hand side was blocked off by a divider. The result would likely be us and others stopping in the traffic lane to quickly unload, which would create unnecessary congestion.

(By the way, the number of cyclists who do not know that a bike lane may be used for unloading in a "no parking" zone is incredible. The city and CCRA should do more to advertise this rule.)

2. The right side of the 2200 block has numerous curb cuts for garage driveways for houses on that side of the street. I do not see a practical way to divide a bike lane while still allowing full access to those houses.

3. At rush hour the 2200 block can be highly congested due to traffic turning from 22nd Street (in addition to the traffic coming down Lombard). To avoid gridlock at the intersection of 22nd and Lombard, card often need to pull into the bike lane to clear the intersection. While this is not a legal move, as there is no second traffic lane on the 2200 block, it is a reality. Not allowing access to that lane would likely significantly increase congestion at the intersection at peak times.

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I am a lifelong Philadelphia resident, cyclist, pedestrian, and car owner. I am a board member, treasurer, and permit coordinator who evaluates race courses for safety for the Pennsylvania Cycling Association. Additionally, I’ve been a competitive racer and bicycle handling instructor for the past two decades with a local cycling club, QCW Cycling. I also regularly commute by bicycle (and sometimes car) on both Lombard and South Streets.

First off, the single biggest factor in safety for pedestrians and cyclists is motor vehicle speed. The second biggest factor is unsafe driving (distracted driving, failure to yield, failure to stay in lane). Reducing vehicular traffic to a single lane, and physically restricting driving in a bike/loading lane limits speeding and increases safety.

Lombard and South Streets, as entry and egress to the South Street Bridge are two heavily traveled streets, by motor vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.

Currently, despite the lane markings and usage by cyclists, almost every day drivers are seen using the bike lane to race ahead (typically over the speed limit) of other cars.

Certainly permanent delineator posts will initially help keep the bicycle lane free of vehicles. But one only needs to look at the recently installed delineator posts on the South Street Bridge in front of the CHOP  tower to see that delineator posts often and quickly get run over and destroyed by vehicles. Much like the paint and signs that once clearly marked the bike lines — in a short period of time — those delineator posts will also be barely noticeable. Clearly, legal enforcement doesn’t work. However, physical barriers do.

Cars and delivery trucks stopped in the bike lane for legal loading/unloading impede those drivers who consider using the bike lanes to speed ahead. Without a lane for loading/unloading, vehicles will stop in the travel lane, which is unproductive for everyone. Over time, with deteriorated delineator posts, vehicles will once again swerve into the bike lane to go around stopped traffic.

The choice here should not be delineator posts or no delineator posts. The end goal is to make both streets safer for all – drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. Partially protected lanes, with a few delineator posts at the start and end of each block (and perhaps for a small section in the middle) would also allow delivery vehicles and local residents space for loading/unloading. Allowing vehicles to stop in the bike lane may seem counterintuitive, but it reinforces the space as a non-travel lane for motor vehicles, and keeps stopped vehicles from blocking the travel lane, which would push moving vehicles into the bike lane as delineator posts eventually are damaged and destroyed. I would also add that having a sign on each block, noting that the bike lane may be used for 20 minutes for loading/unloading, would remind residents to stop for a minimal amount of time and educated cyclists about the legality of stopped vehicles.

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I'm writing to express my support for flex posts as a measure to better protect bicycle travel on Lombard and South Streets.

While still inadequate to fully protect vulnerable road users (like people on bicyces), flex posts are a step in the right direction to implementing a truly 21st century Philadelphia with modern, multi-modal transportation options.

City streets belong to all Philadelphia residents, and we must work harder to protect our most vulnerable citizens - not only your spandex-clad weekend warrior constituents from Rittenhouse, but also your constituents from South Philadelphia whose sole means of transportation to and from Center City is via bicycle.

I am disappointed to see Center City Residents (cc'd) spreading propaganda and other false information around the subject. I'm sure there will be plenty of NIMBYism and squeaky wheels on the subject, so I wanted to make sure you heard my YIMBY voice on the matter.

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I called Kenyatta Johnson's Office today and spoke with his assistant, Kennedy, concerning my objection to the above.

I mentioned that this would create a restricted one lane for traffic access on Lombard Street.

What about emergency personnel for Fire & Ambulance Access ---- all flowing down Lombard Street -- or simply a house or car fire or heart attack in the neighborhood.

Also -- Homeland Security National or natural disaster.  Access is straight out Lombard from center city.  We witnessed thousands of cars panic to exit the city business district to race home to their families on the morning of 911.   All trying to reach the expressway from Lombard Street.

Cable repair, water main repair, electrical lines ---  all under Lombard Street.  At this very second, there is a huge truck on the corner, hanging off the end of 23rd & Lombard, working in the manhole doing repair -- with police presence.  These lines all go under Lombard Street.

Moving Trucks, Delivery Trucks, all those thousands of those Amazon packages, U.S. Postal Service access.  Grocery, small children, handicap unloading.

Trash Truck pick-up --- snow plows.

Not to mention, our own vehicle has a handicap designation on our license, so even parking is now stressful and difficult, if we can find a spot.

BUS - another disaster with passengers exiting & boarding while all traffic comes to a standstill, horns blowing - and an ambulance on it's way to CHOP.

Residential Garages on the 2200 block on North side - is this an exception to avoid denying residents from entering their garages and homes.

The City needs to take personal and legal responsibility for all of those potential crisis situations.  Bright green or yellow paint would serve the same purpose.

Lastly, I mentioned that bike activity is major during rush hour NOT " 24-7".

EXAMPLE -   During a two year construction project  of the new bridge on the Garden State Parkway over the Great Egg Harbor Bay -- with only one lane of traffic on each side -- there was a multi car accident with potential casualties.  The medical, fire and police emergency vehicles were unable to get to the scene with bumper to bumper traffic on the bridge without horrific intervention.  Huge uproar of local officials, engineers, planners and emergency organizations.

My comments were duly noted.

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As a resident of the 2400 block of Lombard Street, I am writing to express my firm opposition to the proposal to install permanent bike lane delineator posts on our block, as well as on all blocks between 2200 and 2700 Lombard Street.

We oppose this for several reasons:
 
•IT DIMINISHES THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF RESIDENTS IN FAVOR OF BICYCLISTS, WHEN OTHER ALTERNATIVES FOR PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE EXIST.  Urban living is all about the sharing of public space.  City dwelling means accommodating and respecting the use of our shared space by vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists without the need for isolation of any of those groups, including those with disabilities. This proposal flies in the face of the concept of sharing of public spaces.

•AN EXTREME MEASURE IS BEING PROPOSED TO ADDRESS A NON-PROBLEM.  AT BEST, IT IS USING A HATCHET WHEN A FLYSWATTER WILL DO.  Bikes are not traveling 24/7 on these blocks near the frequency of cars and pedestrians. Bike traffic is very minimal throughout most of the day and night - busy only at rush hour (and even then, never more than one-person deep).

•THE PROPOSAL IS IMPRACTICAL AND SUGGESTS AN AWKWARD SOLUTION.  Why would a hard separation be considered in an area of the city that is predominantly residential and does not have the width to accommodate it?

•FAR LESS EXTREME, AND EXPERIMENTAL OPTIONS SHOULD AT LEAST BE EXPLORED FIRST.  Why not begin with a pilot such as painting the lanes bright green, making them much more noticeable?  Could the barriers be something low - bumps - but obvious, to serve as a clear deterrent but still allow short-term access to the curb?

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I was just told about the incentive to put bicycle-lane separation posts on upper blocks of Lombard Street.

As a city resident and cyclist, I use the Pine and Spruce Streets bicycle paths almost everyday. I don't find it necessary to have posts to be separating the lane, actually I find it more of a hazard to everyone and inconvenient for most.

I'm not even sure why there is a bike lane on Lombard since just a block away there is a bike lane.

Please DO NOT go forward with this plan.

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The idea of permanent lane dividers for the bike lanes is absurd. It will create traffic nightmares since no one will be able to get near the curb to load and unload groceries, moving materials or anything else.  The streets involved are not wide enough for this type of development. The bike lanes have already reduced Spruce Street to a one lane street, which makes traffic matters more difficult.  There is not enough enforcement of bike traffic behavior and while there are those who are quite conscientious, other bikers ride around as if they are invincible and not subject to traffic laws.  Drivers aren't uniformly conscientious either but permanent barriers? Surely there is better technology than that available.

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I live at [redacted] Naudain Street and many of us residents are terribly upset and concerned about the plan to put in permanent bike lane divide


rs.  Just putting in a bike lane has made terrible dangerous traffic problems in our neighborhood during rush hour due to the traffic from 22nd street being unable to turn onto the single lane of cars on Lombard street.  Putting dividers there would make the problem even worse.

As Lombard is direct access to the freeway, it cannot even handle the traffic as it is now restricted with the current bike lane.  Actually, there should be no bike lane on this stretch of Lombard because of the street being freeway access.  I really think it is inevitable before a bike rider is hurt or killed or there are terrible car accidents from frustrated drivers who cannot move due to the daily terrible traffic that occurs.  Putting permanent dividers will only add to this already dangerous situation.

Please do not let them do this.  All of my neighbors and the residents I know who live in this area feel this way and are very upset about it.

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As a biker, I love the idea of protected bike lanes and the thought that I can bike blissfully without the possibility of any interruption by a car.  For the past 16 years, I travel by bike around town about 5 miles/day throughout Center City and live in a home that fronts onto Lombard Street.  I have never had a particularly difficult situation with cars in the bike lane and strongly believe that just as cars have to be considerate of each other when driving on city streets, so too do cars and bikes have to be considerate of each other.

Here's what I think about - I come home with a trunk full of groceries, or three sleeping children in the car, and I can't pull up outside my house to unload?  I have to pull up across the street, and dodge traffic to get my kids safely into the house?  And, there is a bus turn at the corner, so I can't pull up there, and what if I live in the middle of the block?  It seems punitive to the homes that front on the street on the bike-lane side...

Maybe there is a way to utilize some sort of "rumble strip" or low bumps to separate the bike lane, or maybe we start by testing just painting the bike lane green, or with a public education campaign targeted to bikers and drivers about how we can be safer together?  Or maybe we move the bike lane to the space between the parked cars and the sidewalk on the south side of Lombard, like they do in Europe?

I think there are other solutions that should be tried first.

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Thanks for giving us members an opportunity to comment on the proposal to put barriers between bicycle and traffic lanes on small portions of Lombard and South Streets.

First, my credentials: I ride a bike but do not commute by bike. I walk along Lombard, South, Pine, and 22nd streets every day, often more than once a day, and I walk along them morning, afternoon, and evening. So I have seen the situation on them many times. I also have lived in several European cities where bicycles are widely used and where specific bicycle lanes have been constructed, and have visited and stayed for differing lengths of time in various American cities with the same bicycling characteristics. Thus I have seen how the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicle drivers has been dealt with in a variety of environments. (Then there are Asian cities, but they are not a good model to learn from, apart from Singapore.)

The pictures that OTIS includes with their report show the situation that I have seen every day, without exception, since unprotected bicycle lanes have been installed on the streets I mentioned: cars and trucks park regularly, and often for extended periods of time, in the bicycle lanes, treating them as deliver zones and parking zones. I have never yet seen any enforcement by any police or PPA person, though almost every time I see a violation I see some official near enough to have noticed it. There is also a phenomenon that the OTIS still photos do not show, and that is the all-too-common use of the bicycle lanes as an additional driving (traffic) lane. This is particularly common during rush hours, but it happens at other times as well, including by SEPTA buses. (There is one driver on the 40 route who in my experience, which is frequent, always drives in the bicycle lane from the foot of the South St bridge until at least 24th Street.)

In other words, the current system is not working in anything like an optimal manner. Yes, it does keep most drivers out of the bicycle lanes, and it does keep most bicyclists out of the motor vehicle lanes. But far too often the division is ignored, and sometimes willfully and nastily (eg, the drivers who honk their horns at bicyclists to try to get them to get out of any part of the street or, at times, just to harass them.) There is also a problem of bicyclists who flout traffic lights, which is dangerous to themselves, vehicle drivers, and most of all pedestrians, but that is not something that can be solved by traffic lanes. It is, however, a problem that shows the execrably poor traffic law enforcement in Philadelphia, which is also manifest in regard to designated bicycle lanes, and frankly I do not think that the Police Department has any intention of increasing enforcement.

As a result of what I have seen over the entire period of designated but unprotected bicycle lanes, I have become convinced that only placing barriers will work. In New York City, such barriers are becoming more common. To be sure, streets are wider in New York than in Philadelphia, but at the same time there is much more traffic in New York than here, so the same decision about reapportioning space between bicycles and vehicles had to be made in both places.

Barriers serve to enforce what has already been decided: that vehicle lanes and bicycle lanes are distinct parts of street surfaces, and that the separation between them should be obeyed. Thus complaints from motor vehicle drivers about "losing spaces to stop/park" are way beside the point. That ship has already sailed. Moreover, there are lots of bicycle riders, and they have rights to safe traffic flow just as much as motor vehicle drivers do.

Putting up barriers should not be the sole step taken, however. For one thing, some drivers, especially but not only in trucks, will simply drive over them. Believe me, I have seen this elsewhere. A big SUV, of the type that is becoming more common, has no trouble doing so. This is why in Paris most bicycle lanes are physically divided from vehicle lanes by curbs or even higher barriers.

More important, bicycle lanes, like motor vehicle lanes and sidewalks, need to be seen as part of mobility. Bicycle lanes are not all that are being violated daily and repeatedly. Delivery trucks now treat double parking as their right, even on the most crowded streets in Center City, and they, too, get away with it. Regulated, enforced delivery parking zones should be implemented instead. The city has also foolishly given away much street parking to "garage houses" (that is, houses with garages on the ground floor), which both encourages automobile ownership and then grants what is in effect free parking to those who live in such houses. Such freeloader parkers should start paying their fair share for the common resource they have privately appropriated. The city also has a problem with streets that have apparently been designed for high speed driving: not just JFK Boulevard and Market Street, but virtually all the Schuylkill River bridges, not to mention 22nd Street. These all need redesigning. All of these are dysfunctional parts of our urban ecology that need to be comprehensively remedied.

Thus I strongly support the proposed barriers as a first step. But Philadelphia badly needs not only a vision for reducing traffic accidents, injuries, and deaths, but an actual implemented policy. There are lots of ideas that have been tried and found workable around the world. Yes, they cost money. But so do accidents, injuries, and deaths, and they cost other things as well. Making bicycling safer should be part of a comprehensive plan for traffic calming and mobility understood as not just motor vehicles but all the ways that we move around our city.

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As residents of the 2300 block of Lombard, as well as bicycle riders who ride to work through the city every day, we strongly oppose the proposal for lane dividers. 

While we are in support of, and welcomed the bike lanes throughout the city and on our street, we also understand that the bike lanes take space from the limited-width cart ways of our historic city and the width of our streets simply does not afford the opportunity for full separation of the lanes. Unfortunately, we do not have the benefit of NYC’s wide streets, and foresee only risk and frustration resulting from the attempt to isolate the bike lane here in Philly. 

When riding in the city, we do not object to (and even expect to see) service vehicles and individuals’ cars temporarily parked in the bike lane in order to load and unload or to do work. We simply take the precautions necessary to pass the vehicle.

Due to the vast increase in residential units in our neighborhood over the last 25 years since we moved in, there are many days when our neighbors and we have to park several blocks from our houses – if we are even lucky to find a spot somewhere.  With no ability to load and unload local to our houses, people will double park and block traffic, which will cause chaos.  Although you mention that plans are being adjusted to facilitate vehicle loading and unloading, it will not be possible for all residents to do that in front of their homes which makes dropping off very young children, aging or disabled family members, and large loads impossible.

In addition, from 22nd Street west, the #40 SEPTA bus uses the bike lane.  If hard barriers are installed this will force the bus into the traffic lane, adding to the existing congestion and blocking traffic at each bus stop as the bus loads and unloads. The bus will not be able to slide over into the bicycle lane even if the barrier is removed at each individual stop because of bus maneuverability, so cars will not be able to slide by.

It is very unclear to us why this action is even being considered.  It is in complete conflict with the Bicycle Coalition’s rules of the road on their website, specifically, “On streets with right-hand bike lanes, the bicycle lane is the proper load/unload position for vehicles.” Also as stated on their website, “Bicyclists are not required to ride in a bicycle lane just because there is a lane on that street”.  So it is puzzling as to why OTIS is proposing something that is not consistent with the Bicycle Coalition’s thinking.  Why would a hard separation be considered in an area of the city that is predominantly residential and does not have the cart width to accommodate it?  In addition, urban living is all about the sharing of public space.  We all must accommodate and respect the use of our space by vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists without the need for isolation of any of those groups.

As a directly affected neighbor and a past CCRA board member and zoning committee chair, we respectfully request that CCRA protect its residents and our quality of life by strongly opposing this plan.

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I strong oppose the barriers in front of my house. This is an unnecessary obstruction that will prevent homeowners from exercising their legal right to safely load and unload passengers and heavy luggage/shopping from their vehicles (personal auto, uber, lyft, taxi, etc) to their homes.

Please see attached advisory from the Bicycle Coalition that confirms this right and provides guidance to bicyclists.

http://bicyclecoalition.org/ride-your-bike/bike-laws/philadelphia-bike-laws/#sthash.qXyHd0ti.dpbs

I urge CCRA to take all steps necessary to protect our legal rights.

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My thinking on this is summarized below:

- we’re talking safety (protected bike lanes) vs. inconvenience (finding parking other than the bike lane)

- as a cyclist, I’ve struggled across center city as I’m forced out of the bike lane on average once/block

- as a car driver, I’ve observed on a consistent basis that people don’t notice (being generous) or don’t care (more likely) about the transition to a bike lane from 2 lanes on Lombard as you approach South Street Bridge

- having lived in many cities, I’ve experienced all kinds of bike lanes and there is nothing close to having some kind of physical separation (as opposed to just a painted buffer)

- anecdotally, speaking with would-be cyclists, some manner of protection is the only way these folks will become frequent cyclists in Center City

In summary, I strongly support this pilot and I hope if it goes forward it will be an example for other parts of the city.   I suspect that car drivers and delivery people will figure out how to deal with it without too much impact while at the same time we will see significantly more cycling in the area.

Thanks for requesting input on this issue.

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Bike lane barriers would keep bikes out of automobile lanes and that would be a good thing.

HOWEVER, bikes should be licensed and able to be ticketed for violating traffic regulations like going through red lights that they all seem to do. So many bicycles not obeying traffic laws are very dangerous for both vehicles and pedestrians. So many times bicyclists zip in and out of lanes cutting across automobiles and running down pedestrians. This is very serious and something needs to be done about it.

CCRA should take this on and represent pedestrians and automobile drivers too.

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As a property owner on one of the impacted blocks, I wholeheartedly support the installation of protected bike lanes. I look forward to seeing additional information about school bus loading, which has been problematic for years; this is an opportunity to research, update, and improve that system.

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I support the placement of lane dividers from the 22xx22xx blocks of Lombard...actually, I would like to see them the whole stretch of Lombard.  Having been in cities that use dividers (Montreal, Amsterdam come to mind) I can see that they clarify rules, and that clarity makes everyone safer.  It is very important to break the pattern of cars pulling into and blocking bike lanes "just for a minute" while they do errands or whatever, forcing the bikes into the main flow of traffic, and dividers help prevent that. 

Our city is becoming more and more congested, and our neighborhood is losing parking lots.  Encouraging cyclists is part of the solution to all of us living together.  I hope this moves forward, and indeed that physical dividers are placed ever more widely in PHiladelphia.

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First, thanks for asking. No excess excitement here.  :-))

I live at 17XX Lombard, so a bit east of the proposed area, though I drive through there to University City and I-76 S frequently. I wholly support more and better bike lanes. The plastic poles, though, seem like a weak solution. I know Philly...those things are going to get bent, broken, stolen, etc. Perpetually in bad shape - and therefore of limited value.

I've lived and traveled extensively in Europe. In many countries and cities, they take the bike lanes and bike riders much more seriously, and I think we should, too. There, the bike lane is paved and at a level about 2 to 3 inches above the street, but lower than the sidewalk. There is a short curb between the bike lane and the street. There is no car or truck parking or stopping on these lanes. On the sidewalk side, there is a very short concrete curb. These are incredibly safe for bikers drivers and pedestrians. An effective network of these would go a long way to helping further increase the safe use of bikes in the city.

As for loading and unloading by double-parking, there should be strictly enforced time limits and stopping should be restricted to No Parking Zones on the opposite side of the street where cars now park. These would be clearly marked with signage and curb painting. Essentially, you are giving up some street parking to provide for some loading zones. Currently, loading takes place in the actual bike lane, forcing bikers into traffic - extremely dangerous, but happening on almost every block all the time. Bad.

Some strategically located, multi-level parking garages would help a lot, too. On South Street where you want to include these protected bike lanes, the density of housing has risen dramatically in the last few years. All those cars - and delivery trucks - have to go somewhere. The UPS and FEDEX guys park and just take the parking tickets as cost-of-doing-business, but that does nothing good for traffic or bikers.

That's my two-cents worth.

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Here are my thoughts:

Every new initiative regarding biking in Philadelphia is designed with bicyclists in mind.   This latest proposal is intended to make it more difficult for motorists and delivery people with legitimate needs to park temporarily along certain bike lanes.  You might want to look up Ingrid Saffron's column of about a week or so ago detailing how the proliferation of online buying has resulted in a proliferation of delivery vehicles in the city thus adding to parking congestion. 

While protected bike lanes may appear on the surface an obvious need, the resultant congestion will only change the behavior of motorists, delivery people and contractors/service people without modifying the behavior of bicyclists.  AND THIS is the ongoing issue for the non-cycling public.  Moreover, motorists are not the only victims of bad cycling behavior.  Pets and pedestrians have also suffered.  I always had to look left upon exiting my house on Lombard St. with my two dogs to insure none of us would be run over by cyclists jumping onto the sidewalk to avoid cars waiting at a red light.  On several occasions there were near misses.

Not one single initiative for cycling has addressed the long-standing complaint that many cyclists contribute to the dangers on our streets by doing one of the following:

1.  Running stop signs and red lights at an extraordinary rate.

2.  Jumping onto sidewalks at red lights to avoid traffic.

3.  Riding on sidewalks period..

4.  Riding against traffic even on some streets with bike lanes.

I would also point out that all of the initiatives and proposals cost money, none of which cyclists contribute to the public coffers.  Dogs are registered.  Alarm systems are registered.  Vehicles are registered.  Parking permissions are registered.  Contractor placards are registered.  Bikes ARE NOT.  Before another penny is spent on cycling initiatives the city needs to require all cyclists obtain a license.  Not only will this require cyclists to contribute to systems designed for them, it will provide police with license tags to enforce existing laws regarding cycling that are not enforced.

I would add regarding the specific proposals for Lombard St west of 22nd and South St east of the bridge that when the new CHOP facility opens along the bridge there will be a daily nightmare of traffic along South St., adding to the existing nightmare the reduces traffic at 27th St. east to one lane.  Protective devices in the bike lane will only add to that nightmarish scenario.

In conclusion, protective bike lanes MAY reduce accidents (though there are inadequate means of judging how many current accidents are the result of bad bike behavior) but they will make traffic flows worse in the city increasing the possibility of accidents involving pedestrians, pets and vehicles to say nothing of increasing the blood pressure of these groups in general.

Though this is only anecdotal evidence, I have heard a huge number of complaints from pedestrians and motorists about cyclists.  I have read plenty of vitriol from cyclists online in response to articles and columns claiming they are the victims, but I have never heard a single cyclist say they should assume behavioral or fiscal responsibility as well.

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I am in favor of the protected bike lanes pxroposed by OTIS.  It is dangerous to have cars double parked or swerving into these lanes.  We need to make bicycling safer in Center City so that we can reduce congestion do to automobiles.

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I live at 22XX Lombard Street.  I am totally opposed to bike lane barriers.

With parking such a problem we need to be able to double park in front of our homes which will be too complicated with bike lane barriers.  Our neighborhood is too congested already with traffic.  We don't need the clutter of bike lane obstacles adding to the congestion

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As a cyclist and homeowner on one of the affected blocks, I support the addition of lane dividers on South and Lombard.  I believe this would provide a greater measure of safety and separation for cyclists, particularly on Lombard where traffic can become quite fast in the later blocks. For cars turning right, the barrier should serve as a reminder the check their right mirror before turning. Most obviously, this should keep moving traffic out of the bike lane, which happens more frequently as the lane paint fades(!).

My main caveat is referenced in the email below, which is that loading and unloading in front of residences still be allowed.   As an alternative, I would consider a solution where some parking spaces on each block were allocated to be loading areas, but I doubt many of my neighbors (particularly elderly ones) would be satisfied with that arrangement or the loss of parking spaces. 

If the barriers are deployed, I would recommend a simultaneous education effort suggesting that for loading and unloading, cars pull up with two wheels on the curb (as I was told to do by a Philly police officer years ago), in order to provide more room for passing bikes.  It occurs to me that if the barriers are in the center of the buffer lane, bikes may be less safe than they are now when they pass a loading car because they’ll be forced outside the buffer rather than in the center of it.

Finally, while it would not be a deal-breaker for me, can we find a way to make them not be ugly?  Some kind of public art funding?

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While the idea to repaint and protect the already existing bike lanes is nice and sure we should do it, I think it’s a short-sighted solution.  What is our transport strategy as Center City gets more and more congested?  We say we want to be a bicycle friendly city, and we SHOULD be, but the reality is that there is insufficient lane space on most of our streets to segregate traffic this way. Could we be bicycle friendly AND solve for other issues such as delivery incursions, etc. by designating a defined center city ‘zone’ (university city to old city?) that is clearly signed to indicate bicycles and cars use the same lanes? Always. Major arterials like Market and Broad could be excepted, but elsewhere we might as well acknowledge the already slow traffic flow in center city is bicycle speed anyway, so have the bicyclists use the lane just like all other traffic. It preserves parking, allows business deliveries, doesn’t interfere with UPS double-parking everywhere, and opens up most/all of center city to safer, greener transportation if done properly.  It might even get the bikes off the sidewalks finally.

I respectfully submit that CCRA consider this as it thinks through its position on the small, very localized issue that prompted your question.

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I have been a CCRA member for at least 30 years and continue to be a member though I now live […] outside the CCRA area.  I use the Lombard Street and South Street bike lanes frequently, often twice a week in the summer and once a week in the spring and fall.  A little less so for the South Street lane as sometimes I go east on Locust Street and Pine Street from Schuylkill Banks.

While Bollards are not a good idea where temporary parking is permitted, such as on Spruce and Pine.   But on Lombard and South  there should be no temporary parking so Bollards are a good idea.  Because of congestion, frequently moving cars block those lanes when they shouldn’t.  My only caveat is that the Bollards have to be placed carefully where Lombard curves at 27th Street.  There is frequently accumulation of gravel there and cyclists sometimes need to be able to leave the shoulder to avoid a spill while turning on that gravel.  Bollards should not be placed so as to impede necessary deviation from the shoulder.

Thank you for listening.

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I completely support installation of barriers, but I don’t think the flexible dividers are enough.  Those installed on the Walnut Street Bridge did not last very long and drivers weave in between them to drive in the bike lane.

In general I don't see a problem. However, the barriers should not cut off access to the parking places on the South Street Triangle, a photo of which was included in the presentation. Also, on Sundays and Saturdays, church and synagogue attendees legally park "illegally." They should have access to the bike lane on Sunday mornings, as the traffic is light.

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Just two weeks ago my husband and I used the Indego bike share for the first time.  With the addition of the bike station at 25th and Locust it is much more convenient for us.  Since then I have used the bikes to ride to work at CHOP, and I really like it. I plan on signing up for the monthly service.

Not having been a city bike rider I had no idea how much better for cyclists it is to have a dedicated bike lane. In the locations planned, the street is typically used as one lane for cars, but is pretty wide, too there should not be an issue with space.  I support this!

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      I fully support the proposed bike lane barriers on both Lombard and South Sts. There is a huge amount of bike traffic in both those corridors which is an absolute great thing for this neighborhood and the city in general. Having cyclists commuting instead of using cars is fantastic for almost too many reasons to list, for example: zero fuel emissions, vehicle traffic reduction, community vibrancy, an attraction to new residents (and younger in this aging city). In addition, those lanes are (thankfully) heavily used by cyclists at present so adding barriers should serve only to ensure the safety of our commuter cycling neighbors without causing hardship to car drivers (they shouldn't be in the bike lanes anyway).

     Also, commuter biking is the way of the future, it's high time Philadelphia (and we've come a long way in this area recently) embraces that future instead of clinging to the past. 

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This is a TERRIBLE IDEA - & I frankly am floored that it is being floated at all!

I live at 24XX Lombard Street, and my husband rides a bike daily for work, so I am well aware of both sides of the issue.

Lombard Street is a very busy street! I have lived here for 30 years & think the current bike lane w/o dividers works just fine.

I have run into only 2 militant bike riders on 2 separate occasions, who harassed me for parking in front of my own house (!) while unloading `groceries in all my years of living here.

I am unequivocally OPPOSED to this proposal, so is my husband

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The Philadelphia School has expressed the following concerns to OTIS around the proposal for fixed bike lane barriers at meetings held on March 9 at TPS on and May 22 at SOSNA:

Major concerns:

1)  School buses from the School District of Philadelphia and Lower Merion drop off and pick up students each day in the lane that is proposed to have fixed posts.  Per the School District of Philadelphia, safety protocols dictate that buses at schools drop off and pick up students without the students having to cross the street.  The current drop off on the north side of Lombard is the only opportunity for this to happen. 

Notwithstanding this issue, there was additional discussion on this topic.  Suggestions to have students dropped off on 25th Street would eliminate the car drop off on the west side of 25th Street, which would cause major parking and traffic issues, and suggestions to have students dropped off on the east side of 25th street would require the removal of parking spaces for neighbors, which the school is not in support of.  Suggestions to have students dropped off on the south side of Lombard Street would require the removal of parking spaces for neighbors, which the school is not in support of.

2)  The Philadelphia School also hires four buses per day from Tuesday - Friday of each week for 20 weeks each year to transport students to and from our Country Classroom at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education.  This is a large part of the mission of The Philadelphia School.  The buses sometimes arrive early and need a place to wait, and there is nowhere in the area adequate for bus staging.  Suggestions to have the buses park on either side of 25th Street will not work not only because of the issues previously expressed in #1, but also because the block is significantly shorter from Lombard Street to Waverly Street than from 25th Street to 26th Street and is there is insufficient room for more than two buses to park.

Other concerns:

3)  The Philadelphia School has trash and recycling removal five days a week and compost removal twice a week on Lombard Street from our enclosed dumpster garage.  Suggestions to have the waste removal trucks park on the south side of Lombard Street would require the removal of parking spaces for neighbors, which the school is not in support of.  Suggestions to have traffic wait on Lombard street until the dumpsters are emptied is less than ideal for the neighborhood due to congestion on Lombard Street.

The Philadelphia School is open to suggestions that will work for our students, families, and the neighborhood.  OTIS has assured the school that they will not move forward until these concerns are addressed.

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While I like the idea in theory I do think that having a barrier on Lombard at 22nd Street needs special consideration. Ever since a bike lane was added there, traffic (especially at rush hour) driving on Lombard West through that intersection blocks the box because there is too much traffic volume for one lane to handle. The only alleviation to this problem for drivers going North on 22nd Street that are blocked is if the Lombard Street drivers stuck on the red light move over into the bike lane temporarily.

With a barrier separating the bike lane I fear that 22nd Street will be impassible at rush hour.

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Bike lane barriers, yes please!

My wife and I live on Lombard at 19th. She commutes to along Lombard/South. Often cars use the bike lane as a travel lane or for temporary parking. Either creates an unsafe condition.

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I neither bike nor drive, but as I walk in Center City, I am disturbed to see how often vehicles park, stand, drive in bike lanes.  I have chewed out more than one driver for doing so.  The barriers seem a good solution.

On the subject of bikes, who can do what about the cyclists endangering pedestrians, on sidewalks, in crosswalks, and while riding against their red lights?  I eagerly support cycling.  Having lived in the Netherlands for a year and never having been so endangered by a cyclist, I know that our present chaos is not necessary.

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Yes to the barriers!

I am amazed at how well the bike lanes are used, especially South Street, and how arrogant some car drivers can be about finding a 'free' parking spot.  This pushes the bikes temporarily into traffic as opposed to riding along with it all the time.  The transition is dangerous.  There can be two parked cars, buses, delivery trucks, etc each block!  No enforcement, no tickets, nothing.  I know the reasons against them, not being able to drop off at your doorstep, etc.  Sorry, it's a bike lane.

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Flex barriers are fine for South St. Bridge.  Should not be placed on residential streets where residents need access to the curb for loading and unloading.  CCRA should make clear to its members what this means from a legal standpoint if it is done and a resident need to temporarily park to load or unload along that side of the street.  The bicycle people already scream at you for that and sometimes the Police stop behind you to get you to move.  This all needs to be significantly clarified for the taxpayers of the district.


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