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November 09, 2021

Center City adds 20 additional bike patrols as part of larger public safety plan

The 'Safety Matters' initiative is an on-going partnership aimed at keeping residents comfortable as they return to normal life after COVID-19 lockdown

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Center City District Street View/Google Maps

Center CIty District has deployed 20 additional uniformed, unarmed bike patrols from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. around businesses, restaurants, and offices as part of the Ready. Set. Philly! public safety initiative.

As Philly workers resume in-person work and begin their return to the office, the Center City District announced Monday that it has added 20 additional bike patrols around the area as part of a larger "Safety Matters" initiative.

The uniformed, unarmed bike patrols will be in the area daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. for the duration of the initiative, according to a statement released by the Center City District.

"Safety Matters" is a joint effort by the city of Philadelphia, SEPTA, the Police Department, Center City District, and University City District aiming to increase public safety as residents and workers return to the city nearly two years after the COVID-19 pandemic began and shut down much of the areas attractions.

The initiative is part of the larger Ready.Set.Philly! program, which was established early this year as a 12-month plan to re-open the city and set up what they hope will be a post-pandemic Philadelphia. 

The increased bike patrols follow an October pilot program that placed only 10 public safety officers on bikes in the area, according to Center City District CEO Paul Levy.

Levy told the Philadelphia Business Journal that anxiety has been high among residents and workers attempting to come back to Center City given that the streets are emptier than they were pre-pandemic. He says that the increased patrols are meant to reassure people that things are safe.

"If everybody comes back and the streets are busy maybe we don’t need this, but if it's a slow process of recovery the way people have predicted, we’ll keep it," Levy said.

The "Safety Matters" initiative addresses several other factors of public safety as well, including an increase in uniformed and plainclothes SEPTA police officers, increased coverage between the PPD and city hospital police, more visible police presence during peak travel times, and a deployment of University City Public Safety Ambassadors who patrol and provide walking escort services during peak times.

The Center City District also expanded their Ambassadors of Hope program, an ongoing partnership with Project HOME with support from the city, which engages with the homeless living on Philadelphia's streets and provides emergency transport to sheltered areas. 

The Ambassadors of Hope program, originally established in 2018, seeks to provide resources to those experiencing street homelessness in Center City.