Bike lane update: Riverside progress, parking enforcement, and more trails on the way

The PPA has started ticketing on American Street, and construction is starting on seven new stretches.

A portion of the newly paved trail along the Delaware River waterfront

A portion of the newly paved trail along the Delaware River waterfront

Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital
michaelawinberg-2020-2

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With the weather warming up and sunset finally later than 7 p.m., biking season is upon us. The pandemic has brought out a record number of stir-crazy cyclists, new and old, leaving their homes and pedaling around on two wheels.

Several bike lanes are in the works to accommodate them — and there’s enhanced enforcement in some existing spots, to make sure cars don’t take up all the space.

Here’s a citywide update, detailing a handful of trails and paths that will be ready soon, and new construction announced on a slew of others.

American Street bike lane

Finished enough for riders to use it in January, the rollout of the American Street bike lane hasn’t been seamless.

The formerly industrial corridor that runs from Northern Liberties to Fairhill has a ton of construction happening — meaning lots of vehicles drive in and out all the time. Ever since the first layer of asphalt settled in January, cars have idled in the six-and-a-half-foot lane. That, plus winter weather conditions, likely contributed to crumbling in some spots.

Could enforcement be on the way? The PPA has started issuing violations to parked cars on the bike lane, although the agency did not return a request for additional details.

The Streets Department is now finalizing the lane, according to spokesperson Joy Huertas. Final paving started last week, which will be followed by line striping, and signage directing cars not to park on it.

“Any remaining signage or punch list work will follow that,” Huertas said. “We anticipate the bike lane will be completed by the beginning of the summer season.”

A car parked on the American Street bike lane last week got a PPA violation

A car parked on the American Street bike lane last week got a PPA violation

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Delaware River Trail

There’s a lot of visible progress, but the bike trail along the Delaware River is a huge project, so it won’t be finished that quickly.

The vision is for a bi-directional bike lane that stretches six miles, from Allegheny Avenue all the way to Oregon Avenue, and is protected from the busy roadway by a row of plants and trees.

Crews from the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation have already completed parts of it, including a stretch from Tasker to Pier 70 Boulevard and Spring Garden Street to Penn Treaty Park. There’s an interim section ready between Tasker and Washington Avenue — but be careful if you want to hit it up, since some of it is still under construction.

The DRWC is building the central segment now, from Spring Garden Street to Washington Avenue, and it should be ready by fall, per spokesperson Lizzie Woods.

What about the rest of the trail? TBD. “Future segments of the trail north of Penn Treaty Park and south of Washington Avenue are longer term,” Woods said, “and we do not have a completion date yet for the entire trail.”

Other bike lanes all over the city

Mayor Jim Kenney’s latest pledge is to create 40 miles of protected bike lanes by 2026. Construction is starting soon on a bunch of other protected bike lanes, Huertas confirmed.

Not a ton of details available yet, but we can eventually expect cyclists to be able to ride safely on

  • 2nd, 5th, 6th and 10th streets in Center City
  • Race Street from 6th to 8th streets
  • Parkside Avenue in West Philly
  • Torresdale Ave across Pennypack Park

Philly has employed a few different kinds of protection for cyclists in the city. There’s the flex posts seen on roads like JFK Boulevard and 13th Street in Center City. Other lanes are separated from moving cars by a lane of parked cars. The new American Street bike lane is raised from the rest of traffic and separated by a concrete buffer.

So far it’s unclear what kind of protection the lanes listed above will have.

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