Hit-And-Run On Cobbs Creek Parkway Has Residents Demanding Change

by | August 25, 2020 | Featured, Crash, News | 6 comments

screenshot of Avante Reynolds, which appears to be a selfie from her phone.

On Friday evening August 21, Avante Reynolds was struck and killed by the drivers of two automobiles at the intersection of Cobbs Creek Parkway and Catherine St in West Philadelphia. The first driver struck her and fled the scene. The force of the initial crash threw her body 50 feet down the parkway and into the path of the second driver, who collided with her and remained at the scene.

The crash, which was covered by ABC and CBS, had many near neighbors calling for change. Residents noted that the intersection had no traffic control devices (like stop signs), reported that drivers are “constantly speeding,” and had knowledge of another pedestrian death at the intersection, but were told “this is a highway.”

Bicycle Coalition staff performed an analysis of Cobbs Creek Parkway and discovered that this intersection is far from an isolated case. There are no crosswalks or traffic control devices for 500′ north and south of the crash site, per field observations conducted Friday 8/28/20. Our staff dug further and discovered that there are six segments of the roadway (depicted in red in the map below) where there are more than 1,000′ between crosswalks or traffic control devices, including an astonishing 6,600′ (that’s 1.25 miles) from Whitby to 70th where there is not a single safe and legal pedestrian crossing. Click here to view the interactive map.

We counted 33 total intersections that lack basic pedestrian safety amenities (from north to south):
Ludlow, Sansom, Locust, Delancey, Pine, Osage, Addison, Larchwood, Hazel, Walton, Catherine, Webster, Carpenter, Washington, Ellsworth, 62nd, Cedarhurst, Angora Terrace, Fernwood, Ashland, Thomas, Hadfield, Willows, Pentridge, 60th, Edgewood, Springfield, Mt. Moriah Cemetery Driveway, 65th, 67th, 68th, Upland, and Greenway. 

map showing in red the 5 segments of cobbs creek parkway that are over 1000 feet between crosswalks

Additionally, we discovered one particularly hazardous intersection: 67th/68th & Cobbs Creek Parkway. There is nearly 3/4 of an acre of uncontrolled space for cars to maneuver in, with wide turns that prioritize faster car movement over pedestrian safety.

areal map of the intersection of 67th and Cobbs Creek Parkway, showing a large area of uncontrolled car space to turn

This tragedy, combined with our analysis, point to a safety solution that goes far beyond a single intersection improvement. We look forward to working with the City, PennDOT and Councilmember Jamie Gauthier’s office to find a wholistic solution to pedestrian safety for the entire corridor.

Fortunately, a comprehensive look at traffic safety won’t have to be conducted from scratch. Last year DVRPC, the Philadelphia region’s regional planning organization, completed a safety study. This can be a great first step in a public process to make the corridor safe, a process that should be led by community members, and should prioritize their safety over the movement of cars through their neighborhoods. The needs of this community have been ignored for long enough.

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  1. Patrick

    Truly tragic! Thanks for this analysis. And it’s called a “Parkway!”

    • Leonard Bonarek

      Correct. It should be “a way through a park,” not a “highway” in any sense of the word.

  2. Tracey Gordon

    Excellent analysis. Also add that the residents that live and reside along side of Cobbs Creek Parkway including myself participated in city planning Philadelphia2035.org and overwhelmingly agreed that this state highway is unsafe for our families and want Penndot to be part of the solution. Register of Wills, Tracey Gordon

    • Leonard Bonarek

      It was all done remotely, so we must concede that there may be errors. For example we heard that some intersections have been improved since satellite imagery was taken. We completely agree that this road is a hazard to the residents of West Philadelphia, and very much appreciate your public remarks on this topic.

  3. Stanley

    Another anti-car story that makes claims with no proof. Good you are leaving. Bye!

    • Leonard Bonarek

      Thanks for your reply. I don’t think I ever said anything “anti-car.” I noted the crash, and the lack of safety infrastructure on the road, which also kills a significant number of drivers annually. I’m leaving BCGP, but I’m not leaving this case: I’m becoming more involved now that I’ll have more time to volunteer in making the road safe for all users of a roadway that is in my neighborhood. If you think that my closing statement is “anti-car” because I believe that car movements should be slowed to make the road stop being the site of deadly collisions with pedestrians, we won’t have much to talk about.


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