Chairman Degnan. Commissioners. I ask you to consider an emerging class of electric-assisted vehicles, capable of a 30 mile commute at 20 miles per hour.
Some versions can be folded and stored indoors or on mass transit. Enclosed models can be used year round. Cargo bikes can transport loads up to 400 pounds. They’re zero-emission, take up a fraction of the storage of a car and their annual cost of operation is pennies on the dollar.
Folding E-Bike. 45 lbs. Can be stored indoors or on mass transit.
Electric assisted Velomobiles. 100-200 lbs. Can be ridden in all weather conditions.
Electric cargo bike. Can transport up to 400 pounds.
So it’s easy to envision adoption, if they’re afforded safe, reliable facilities. Unfortunately, current and planned facilities on the GWB are deficient for ordinary bicycles, let alone these devices. Inadequate width across the span and blind switchbacks through towers will not be remedied under PA’s plan.
GWB South Path. Composite image by Neile Weissman and Kevin Hatt.
Neither will the problem of snow piled up between the cables, which melt and re-freeze over the road surface. Between February 18 and March 8, 2015 the GWB paths were closed to pedestrians and cyclists twelve out of nineteen days.
Sets of shielded cables every 63′ will remain an impediment to snow removal under PA’s plan, whereas the cable-free paths in the Cyclists’ Proposal can be plowed full width.
GWB, 2015. Photo by Hassan Diop. vs. GWB 2024. Rendering by Amman & Whitney.
The benefits from a built-out GWB are considerable. Connect a growing bi-state network. Create a local amenity. Bolster tourism. Enhance regional resilience and recovery.
In addition, the Authority has opportunity to seed a class of vehicles with potential to transform personal transportation, but to significantly increase throughput on the GWB itself.