On June 4th, Natalie Short of Feet First Philly and Jon Geeting from the Fishtown Business Improvement District (BID) led a group of pedestrians along Frankford Avenue in Fishtown, focusing on pedestrian access issues and highlighting recent community-led improvements.
Despite being a commercial and nightlife destination with a high volume of pedestrian traffic, there was not a single crosswalk between Girard Avenue and Palmer Street on Frankford Avenue (a distance of .5 miles) until 7 years ago. Now that stretch has two crosswalks thanks to the work of pedestrian advocates and the Fishtown Neighbors Association (FNA). Geeting, a Fishtown BID board member and president of FNA, explained that it took several years and the collaboration of multiple city and state departments to get the projects completed.
A common concern from attendees was the effect of construction on sidewalk accessibility. The group walked through one on-road pedestrian walkway, separated from traffic by barriers, that has replaced a sidewalk for years. Several other projects had closed the sidewalk without providing any sort of alternate path.
FNA currently has a few crosswalk improvement projects in the works, and Feet First Philly is working on a campaign to ensure pedestrians can coexist safely amidst construction. While the walk showed the group where pedestrian infrastructure must be improved, visitors also experienced improvements to the pedestrian environment like the pocket park at Belgrade St and widened crosswalks with planters at Shackamaxon Street. These relatively small improvements make it safer for people to walk and roll along Frankford Avenue, and raise the quality of life for everyone who uses this corridor.
This walk was part of Feet First Philly’s 10 Walks for 10 Years. Follow us for details about more walks celebrating 10 years of pedestrian advocacy in Philadelphia.