Online shopping and rideshare are two trends that have grown enormously over the past decade. They have both resulted in more cars and trucks on our streets. As a response, SOSNA’s Vision Zero Committee has been working with neighborhood businesses to establish more curb space for loading. The reason is simple: we have seen an increase in congestion due to more deliveries and rideshare vehicles without an increase in curbside space for these vehicles to pull over for loading and unloading. Therefore, we end up with double parking, blocked bike lanes and crosswalks, and an overall dangerous situation for neighborhood residents and travelers alike. The Center City District is also aware of this problem and earlier this year started a pilot on Chestnut Street to allocate 80-100% of curb space on some blocks to loading.
In 2019, the Vision Zero Committee has been doing outreach to neighborhood businesses to apply for loading zones, particularly on streets with bicycle lanes. The City passed an ordinance deeming loading zones free for businesses on streets with bike lanes. Parking in bike lanes has been a constant problem, documented often by neighborhood residents, and is the number one source of complaints about the bike lanes in our area. When drivers stop in bike lanes, they cause a major safety hazard for cyclists, who have to merge into moving motor-vehicle traffic. This delegitimizes the bike lane as an actual way for people to travel. Therefore, our first goal was to target 22nd street for loading because it has a bike lane. We have successfully worked with CVS to get a loading zone installed adjacent to the store and next to their loading dock. We heard from CVS that the truck driver often has to park in the bike lane to load because of the lack of available loading space nearby.
With a loading zone, we hope that truck drivers will be able to find space that doesn’t cause a safety issue. And since loading zones can technically be used by anyone for up to 30 minutes, folks running into Starbucks or Wawa can also use this space. Previously this loading zone was unregulated so it didn’t result in the loss of any permit parking.
We are pursuing or plan to pursue additional loading zones throughout the neighborhood in front of or near the following businesses:
Sidecar Restaurant, 2200 block of Christian Street
Fitzwater Bagels, 700 block of 20th Street
Learning Train Academy, 1800 block of Bainbridge Street