Bicycle Coalition

Governor Tom Wolf has recently announced the recipients of the Automated Red Light Enforcement (ARLE) funds. Philadelphia was one of the recipients and the some of the funds will be going directly to improving pedestrian and bicyclist safety in Philadelphia. The red light program is set to expire next year and there is current legislation trying to be passed that would extend the program until 2027. We have been lobbying for the passage of that legislation — and we need your help.

To send a letter to Pennsylvania’s senate leadership about this bill, click here.

The ARLE program has 122 red light cameras installed at 27 different intersections all over the city. When someone runs a red light at one of these locations, they are fined, and that money goes into the ARLE fund. Those funds are distributed out to municipalities all over the state. All the funds have to go to traffic enhancement projects. This is good.

Red light Camera

This year the funds totaled $5.5 million. They were divided between 18 municipalities with 23 different projects.

Philadelphia was awarded $2.8 million for five specific projects that will go on throughout the city.

One of the projects is Low Cost Safety Improvements and primarily aims to calm traffic through a variety of methods, in the past, this has included increased signage, better singling, and new markings for bike lanes.

“A good example of Low Cost Safety Improvements that clearly impacted pedestrian safety was at Springfield and Baltimore Avenues,” said Gus Scheerbaum, the ARLE Grant Programs Manager, in an email. “With some paint and delineator posts, the pedestrian crossing was reduced from a 70 [ft] crossing to 35 [ft] and motor vehicles are persuaded to enter/exit Springfield at a slow speed.”

$1.275 million will be put towards three projects all related to a creating “smart” transportation network throughout the city.

The new system would improve traffic flows throughout the city and create more specific control over traffic signaling.

“Signal Integration and Signal Retiming are two other ARLE funded programs, where the City has [already] spent more than $2.5M in updating timings at signalized intersections along coordinated corridors, and centrally linking nearly 1,000 of our signalized intersection controllers so they can be monitored and updated from a central location. These signal updates help to assure timings are appropriate and functional for all users including pedestrians and bicyclists.” Scheerbaum said.Philly_bufferedBL

The last project that would be funded by ARLE would install new LED traffic lights, replacing the pressurized sodium light bulbs currently in use.

This is just the latest round of funding made available for the city, pervious funds have led to improvements that have had a beneficial impact around Philadelphia.

The Superintendent of the Penn Police force has said, “We have seen a major decrease in vehicle/bicycle/pedestrian crashes.”

Here’s a list of some of the projects ARLE money has funded:

  • Low Cost Safety Improvements – Safety audits/studies were conducted at 96 intersections citywide.  Subsequently, work orders were prepared for low cost safety improvements including pavement marking and signing improvements at 104 intersections and 15 corridors citywide.
  • Pedestrian Countdown Signals – Procurement and installation of countdown signals at 79 signalized intersections citywide.
  • Signalized Intersection Battery Backup Systems – Equipment procurement and installation of battery backup systems for 16 signal controllers citywide.
  • Adaptive Response Signal Control Systems – Software and implementation of variable signal control based on real-time data for five intersections on Delaware Avenue.
  • Radar Speed Monitoring Trailers – Procurement of nine radar speed monitoring trailers that have been incorporated into the Streets Department’s Speed Studies Program.
  • Signalized Corridor Retiming Program – Signal retiming improvements along 38 corridors citywide, over 553 intersections.
  • Signal Integration Program – Development and installation of software, that monitors and controls traffic signals. The software will cover over 500 signalized intersections.
  • Intersection Modifications – Geometric improvements at 7 intersections: 38th & Spruce, Ridge & Cathedral, 33rd & Girard, Girard & Sedgley, 58th & Baltimore, 10th & Reed, Frankford & Princeton
  • Castor Avenue Signal Improvements – Design and construction of signal improvements at 11 intersections on Castor Avenue.
  • Low Cost Safety Improvements II – Continuation of the original Low Cost Safety Improvements project.
  • South Broad Pedestrian Improvements – Concept, design, and construction of intersection pedestrian safety improvement specifically relating to traffic calming and the ADA ramps (accessible to wheelchairs).
  • Anti-Skid Asphalt (School House Lane) – Construction of high-friction pavements to reduce run-off-road and head-on collision type crashes.
  • LED Street Lighting – Design, procurement, and installation of new LED Street Lighting fixtures replacing the old HPS lighting, locations will be determined by Streets Lighting division priorities.
  • Traffic Calming (ARLE IV) – Concept, Study, Design, and Construction of traffic calming interventions citywide.  Traffic calming improvements can include pavement markings, signing, signal timing adjustments, flexible delineator posts, neighborhood traffic calming circles, speed cushions, parking chicanes, and more.
  • Traffic Calming (ARLE V) – Continuation of original Traffic Calming project. A portion of this project includes funding for Historic Streets construction.
  • Intersection Modifications (ARLE V) – A new project to do additional geometric improvements at complex intersections citywide.  These funds will probably be used up at one very complex location; Rising Sun / Ontario / Old York / Germantown intersections.
  • Modern Roundabouts – Concept, Study, Design, and Construction of one to three modern roundabouts citywide.
  • Fiber Optic Network Expansion – Design and construction of expanded fiber optic network and signal integration citywide including a portion of Roosevelt Boulevard North.

If these projects are important to you and you care about bicyclist and pedestrian safety, please click here to visit our action page to send a letter to your representative. To learn more click here.

-Marina Stuart

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