Op-Ed: Philadelphia City Council Shouldn't Be Able to Block Bike Lanes
Despite a pledge to install plentiful new bike lanes, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has encountered resistance. Now, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, City Council member Jannie Blackwell wants to take the pushback even further.
As the editorial puts it, "Blackwell introduced a bill last month that says that if the city administration wants to modify an existing bike lane, it will first have to kneel before the throne of a tradition called Council prerogative. The bill is so vaguely written that it could be interpreted as saying Mayor Kenney must beg Council's permission before the city could repaint stripes on pavement."
Pointing to Council prerogative's status as a "tradition" rather than established law, the editorial states, "There are no real rules guiding prerogative and some Council members have used that power to obstruct city projects and, in a few instances, to use it for leverage."
To achieve its Vision Zero goals, the piece says, Philadelphia needs citywide solutions like a network of protected bike lanes. "Because streets crisscross the city, they belong to all of us – drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. That means the parochial interests of district Council members should not trump citywide concerns."