Washington Avenue in South Philadelphia is scheduled for repaving in 2021, and the Office of Transportation Infrastructure and Sustainability(oTIS) is asking Philadelphia residents to weigh in on three different street alignment options. OTIS created a series of videos that give an overview of the repaving project, explain the three potential street layout options, and detail the proposed parking and loading improvements.
After 2021, the next scheduled paving on Washington Ave is not until 2031. How the city chooses to realign the road now will have lasting effects on pedestrian safety and comfort for the next decade. Feet First Philly encourages all residents to watch the videos and then fill out the survey, choosing the best pedestrian street layout before July 1st, 2020.
Feet First Philly supports Option A (the 3 lane option) and sees it as the safest street layout for pedestrians. This option includes:
- A single lane of traffic that lowers driver speeds and reduces dangerous driving behavior
- Crosswalks will be shortened from 5 to 3 vehicle lanes and from 72’ to 33’ making it safer, easier, and quicker for pedestrians to cross. This is especially important for parents with children and people with disabilities
- Opportunity to add wider sidewalks to give pedestrians more space to travel and for businesses to beautify and create attractive storefront areas
In addition to the design shown in Option A, we encourage people to make the following comments in the available “optional comment” spaces when completing the survey:
- Request fewer left turns on Washington Avenue. Limiting left turns to once every 4-6 blocks only at high volume turning locations will calm traffic and open up space that can be used for pedestrian refuge.
- Request pedestrian refuge spaces in the median at intersections. These can be implemented at low cost with plastic posts. These spaces are essential for slower moving pedestrians who might not be able to cross the entire roadway in one light cycle.
- Request that floating bus islands be installed throughout Washington Avenue that allow bus riders to get on and off safely without vehicle and cyclist conflict
- Request additional sidewalk space be designated to pedestrians throughout Washington Avenue.
- Request that design elements physically prevent parking in the median of Washington Avenue. Median parking creates a dangerous environment for pedestrians. Relying on enforcement for illegal parking is ineffective, and using posts and other physical elements is a much better strategy at preventing this behaviour.
- Request that the 3 lane treatment be implemented across the entire length of Washington Avenue. Expanding the vehicle space to 5 lanes near Broad Street creates confusion and reduces protections for pedestrians and cyclists around a road on the city’s High Injury Network, where they are needed most and where safety should take the priority over any congestion impacts.