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The 1700 block of Arch Street is no longer the pedestrian-motor-vehicle-crash-waiting-to-happen it once was. Brandywine Realty Trust and Liberty Property, the property owners on either side of that block, recognized the situation and worked with the Streets Department over Summer and Fall of 2015 to figure out a safer way to accommodate the nearly 1,000 pedestrians per hour that were crossing the street during peak hours, often heading into the Comcast Center or Wawa.

The crosswalk’s proximity to the Comcast Center’s concourse access and its alignment with Three Logan Square’s path to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway created a natural mid-block crossing.  The two real estate companies hired Langan Engineering to do an initial feasibility study, conceptual and full design and covered the cost of construction.

The design of a raised table mid-block crosswalk with rectangular rapid-flashing beacons was selected.  Design and construction were done on an accelerated schedule so that the work would be completed before the construction season wound down for winter.

AP Construction was the contractor selected for the construction job, and completed the street reconstruction work within an extended weekend (demolition started on a Friday night, and repaving was done Monday and Tuesday, with the street reopening on Wednesday…it can be done). The job was completed on December 9th, 2015.

The people who deserve some high-fives for this are as follow: Brandywine Realty Trust, Liberty Property Trust, Langan Engineering and the Streets Department, especially then-Streets Commissioner David Perri, Darin Gatti, Steve Lorenz, Shawn McKeown, Bill Gural, Rich Montanez, Tom Buck, Pat Iffrig, Anthony Santaniello, Pat O’Donnell, and Al Bommentre and his survey district crew.

We are super-pleased that this private-public collaboration worked assiduously to make Arch Street safer for pedestrians! And we hope that similar measures can be taken in other neighborhoods as part of a Vision Zero policy in the near future.

Sarah Clark Stuart

Author

Sarah’s foray into trail and bicycle advocacy began in 2004 when she became involved in the “Free Schuylkill River Park” campaign to preserve public access to the Schuylkill River Trail in Center City, now known as Schuylkill Banks. Since joining the Bicycle Coalition in 2006, she has been a key player in the Bicycle Coalition’s key accomplishments: the $23 million TIGER trail-building grant; naming and building out the Circuit; lobbying successfully for legislation mandating the inclusion of bike parking in new construction projects; Philadelphia’s Complete Streets policy; and coordinating research and analysis of several reports on bicycling in Philadelphia.

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