By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One of the busiest bike lanes in Philadelphia is getting an upgrade in the coming year, improving safety for cyclists for six blocks, coming off the South Street Bridge.

City officials will construct a protected bicycle lane, installing flexible delineator posts along the painted stretch on South Street from 21st to 27th Streets, at the base of the bridge.

“They’re about 3 feet high. They’re round cylinders. They have reflective tape on the top,” explained Kelly Yemen, the city’s director of Complete Streets. He says those visible posts, made of polymers and plastics, will also go up along 27th Street, where motorists make a sharp left on Lombard to South.

“It really defines that edge line of where the bike lane is, and where the driving lane is,” she said.

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson opposed the plan to include similar delineator posts along a parallel section of the Lombard Street painted bike lane (22nd to 27th Streets), due to neighborhood opposition. In a statement, his office wrote the South Street portion “had the support of the majority of businesses, residents, and neighborhood groups. The Lombard Street proposal, in contrast, was fiercely opposed by the majority of constituents who contacted us, and virtually all Lombard residents.” Motorists complain they prevent neighbors from double parking in the bike lanes to load and unload, near their homes.

The existing paint buffered lanes will on those streets will also be restriped.

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and other advocates renewed their push for protected lanes following the death last month of a cyclist. Emily Fredricks, 24, was riding westbound on Spruce Street, and was hit by a trash truck taking a right onto 11th Street. The Coalition recommends, and still contends a Tuff Curb – a traffic separator curb – be installed at the turn from Lombard onto 27th Street, given the speed at which many cars take the turn.

According to the most recent counts in 2015, the South Street Bridge had nearly 1,000 people on bicycle per day in each direction. The South Street Bridge (the most-biked bridge in Pennsylvania) is also an access point to the much used recreational Schuylkill River Trail.

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