Bicycling is the most convenient and healthiest way to get around Philadelphia. During the Democratic National Convention this week, it may be essential.
Between delegates, protestors, and visitors, the city is expecting anywhere between 85,000-100,000 additional people in the city this week—about 50,000 visitors and delegates; 35,000-50,000 protestors.
The city has approved 30+ demonstrations and marches at spots all over the city, from as far north as Diamond Street, to as far south as FDR Park. In some cases, protests will travel several miles throughout the city, likely choking motor vehicle traffic along the way.
The issues these groups, and others, will be highlighting are important for the future of our democracy, for sure. But if you’ve got places to be, here are some things to keep in mind for commuting and moving around the city by bicycle during the week:
During a briefing at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce on June 14, the city’s Emergency Management Director Samantha Phillips specifically noted bicycles are being “encouraged” on the streets this week. More so than usual, that is.
Commuters would be smart to hop on an Indego bike to get around and avoid any additional motor vehicle traffic that comes into the city, noted Phillips. If you’ve got an Indego membership already, you know the deal. If you don’t: It’s $4 per half-hour ride.
And as noted by Phillips, there will be additional buses on the streets, transporting delegates between their hotels, the Convention Center, and the Wells Fargo Center. So when you’re on a bike on a street without a bike lane, be sure to watch for additional buses making additional stops. When riding behind a bus, be sure to keep your distance and ride in the center of the lane.
Riding your bike will be mostly business as usual. But certain streets will be closed off in South Philadelphia, and it’s important to note where you can and can’t ride, especially if you’re on your way to the Wells Fargo Center, or to a protest in FDR Park.
According to an email from the Office of Emergency Management, if you’re riding on Broad Street, bikes are allowed up and down the street, “as far south as Pattison Avenue,” notes Phillips. “Once at Pattison Avenue, bikes may turn westbound.”
That’s because there’s going to be a rectangular security zone next to FDR Park run by the Secret Service Park: Pattison Avenue to the North, Delaware Avenue to the South, 11th Street to the east, FDR Park to the north. Bikes are allowed to, and in, FDR Park all week.
Lastly, Metro readers already know that there’s a non-political Broad Street Ride on Wednesday at 6:30pm. The ride will begin at Cheltenham Avenue, and run the full length of Broad Street, ending as close to the Wells Fargo Center as possible for a party.
Given the contention and anger we’ve all witnessed from this presidential campaign so far, riding the length of America’s best big city for cyclists—for fun, no less—may be just the remedy to keep us all sane.
Randy LoBasso is the communications manager at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. Twitter: @RandyLoBasso