Bike lanes on way, Council wants say

Some council members want to have a say in where these go.

A month before a pilot program adds dedicated bike lanes to 10th and 13th streets from South to Spring Garden, City Councilman Bill Greenlee introduced a bill that would require Council approval for future projects.

“I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with them, but Council has input on a number of issues with our roadways. I don’t see why this should be any different,” Greenlee said Thursday.

The Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia and Mayor’s Office of Transportation quickly responded that the bill would impede safety and add an unnecessary layer of red tape to a process that already solicits official and public input.

“These bike lanes offer a real opportunity to make the streets safer for everybody,” said the coalition’s Sarah Stuart, pointing to successful pilot programs turned permanent on Pine and Spruce streets. “We don’t want to slow down an already slow process.”

Added Andrew Stober of the transportation office, “We want to work with council if they have specific concerns. We’ve worked with them in the past and hope to do so in the future.”

Greenlee said his bill would appeal to advocates if future
administrations aren’t as bicycle-friendly.

Same ol’, same ol’

DROP has already claimed several City Council seats, but legislation was introduced Thursday to overhaul the pension system instead of eliminating it.

“I’ll be the only no vote,” said Councilman James Kenney. “In an era when people’s 401K’s are tanking … municipal employees, not just elected officials, should not get a pension perk.”

Outgoing Council President, and DROP recipient, Anna Verna called the bill “a better approach.” It would:

» Require employees to work two years beyond their minimum retirement age before entering DROP,

» Lower the 4.5 percent minimum interest payment now required would equal that paid on one-year U.S. Treasury bonds (currently 0.2 percent),

» Enable “grandfathered” employees to join “at a time of their choosing” and

» Propose a cost-neutral “partial lump sum” payment option.

Mayor Michael Nutter’s spokesman Mark McDonald likened it to “rearranging deck chairs on a disaster of a program” and said council members should listen to their DROP-opposed constituents. Both bills will be considered at an upcoming hearing.

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