Tidbit Tuesday | Expanding the Bicycle Network, 2008-2013

On Tuesdays, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities (MOTU) posts a map or graphic that tells a story about transportation or utilities in the City of Brotherly Love.

Back in November, we showed not only that bicycle commuting in Philadelphia has been increasing rapidly, but also that we have the largest bicycle commute mode share of the ten largest U.S. cities. Keeping with that trend, the City has been busy expanding the on-street bike network.

This week, we take a look at how many new miles of on-street bike lanes were installed throughout Philadelphia over the past few years.


Even before 2008, Philadelphia already counted nearly 220 miles of roadway with on-street bike lanes (not to mention quite a few miles of trails as well). Today, that total has grown to 240 miles.

And if you were wondering, this photo was taken along Market Street at 54th Street just after new bike lanes were constructed in 2013.

Clarification: the totals above do NOT include sharrows, only actual bike lanes (conventional, buffered, and green). From 2008-2013, we added 9 miles of sharrows to the street network.


4 Responses to Tidbit Tuesday | Expanding the Bicycle Network, 2008-2013

  1. John Iodice says:

    How does this compare with the rate at which bike lanes are disappearing? Do MOTU or the Streets Department track that? For instance, look at this Google Maps view of Parkside Avenue: http://goo.gl/bXEIEt

    There was a bike lane on the south side of Parkside for some time. But the street was resurfaced a few years ago after a big trench was dug to replace pipes. (These pictures are more recent than that; you can see the High School of the Future is in them.)

    Is anybody keeping track of bike lane removal? Is there any way to know how it compares to the creation of new bike lanes? Are we breaking even?

  2. jakeliefer says:

    I arrived post-2008, so didn’t get to see the build out of many of the previous bike lanes. When were the majority of the 220 miles of bike lanes installed? Sounds like the city was very forward thinking with bike lanes if they had that many installed by 2008.

  3. motuphila215 says:

    Good question. Pavement markings do wear out over time or, as you point out, they can be disrupted by street works. In theory, pavement markings should last as long as pavement—this is why the Streets Department uses thermoplastic markings. The length of time between repaving projects has however grown in recent years, resulting in streets with very worn markings. As a result, the Streets Department periodically refreshes bike lanes and other markings. In 2013 bike lanes on Moyamensing Avenue, among other streets, were refreshed. The City also recently initiated a new project to improve and refresh pavement markings as part of a bicycle safety enhancement project—read more here! While Parkside bike lane markings may not be refreshed in the first round of projects, the City does have steps in place to refresh worn markings over time. Streets that are scheduled to be refreshed later in the year include Torresdale Avenue and Snyder Avenue.

  4. motuphila215 says:

    Most of Philadelphia’s bike lanes were installed during the 1990s, but we’re not sure how many miles of lanes were in place before then. We do know that the bulk of our bike lanes (conventional bike lanes on two-way streets) were added as part of “road diets” to make streets safer. Tracking the historical evolution of our bike network would definitely be an interesting history project!

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