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Cyclists in the Philly region get a big boost from Harrisburg

Philadelphia's efforts to become more bicycle friendly got a big boost Tuesday from state grants supporting biking infrastructure in the city.

The city received $984,692 to add 16 docking stations to the Indego bike-share program, which already has 101 stations and 1,000 bikes. And $250,000 more will go to creating up to 17 miles of protected bike lanes. The grants were among 51 state Transportation Alternatives grants announced by  Gov. Wolf Tuesday, totaling $33 million for projects such as trails, street improvements, and biking and walking infrastructure.

Philadelphia also got $1 million for a more than half-mile-long trail along the Delaware River between Magee Avenue and Princeton Avenue, and $600,000 for improved access ramps to Baltimore Avenue near Avery D. Harrington School.

Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties were also beneficiaries, receiving a collective $6.5 million. The projects funded included two to expand the Circuit Trails, a proposed 750-mile network of bike trails stretching over nine counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The city currently has just two miles of protected bike lanes, on Ryan Avenue and the Penn Street trail, and the grant, when added to a $300,000 state grant received last year, could fund up to 25 miles of new protected trails in the coming years. Protected bike lanes have a physical barrier, such as reflective poles, planters, or even parked cars, between cyclists and automobile traffic. They're expected to be a component included in Philadelphia's efforts to implement Vision Zero, a policy based on the idea that traffic-related injuries and deaths can be largely eliminated with safer streets. A report on the city's plans to implement Vision Zero is expected in early March.

Where the new bike lanes and Indego bike stations will go is undecided, city officials said. Community input will be a factor in those decisions.

"We're still working on the public outreach on bike lanes," said Angela Dixon, deputy director for the city's Office of Transportation and Infrastructure. "How we're going to roll this out is still under discussion."

The Delaware River trail among Philadelphia's funded projects is part of the Circuit Trails. The state also provided $700,000 for a one-mile stretch of the Tookany Trail in Montgomery County and $375,000 for the Neshaminy Greenway Trail in Bucks County.

Outside the Circuit Trails, $1 million went to a five-mile span of the the Radnor TAP Trail in Delaware County, and $916,000 will support a multiuse trail on Woodbine Avenue in Downingtown, in Chester County.

"We're a few miles closer to reaching our goal," said Sarah Clark Stuart, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.