With respect to our understanding of Washington Avenue’s 2022 configuration, 11th to 5th was slated to be narrowed to three lanes with a parking protected bike lane, while the rest of the Avenue would remain five lanes wide. As milling and paving started a few weeks ago, that is what we assumed would be installed this fall and recently took pictures of (see above).
Contrary to what we heard this summer, there is new information that the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure & Sustainability (oTIS) and Streets Department have developed some traffic calming measures for the west side of Washington Avenue. We were under the impression that no traffic calming was possible on the west side of Washington Avenue because of the five lane configuration.
Now it appears that some limited traffic calming is possible. The City is going to add speed slots (on two blocks) and hardened centerlines west of 16th Street. Speed slots are analogous to speed humps or cushions and represent the PennDOT approved measure for arterial class roads. Hardened centerlines are stiff posts resting in a base that is drilled into the street. Both of these treatments are on Cobbs Creek Parkway.
While these traffic calming measures are positive, they fall short of what is needed to fully protect people walking and riding on bicycles on Washington Avenue, which include shorter crossing distances and physically protected bike lanes. Bicyclists and pedestrians are over-represented in crashes on Washington Avenue compared to the rest of Philadelphia County, which means that traffic calming should be prioritized to protect them.
Short of reducing the number of travel lanes and protecting the bike lanes, additional measures that we would suggest are 1) center refuge islands to allow pedestrians to safely wait for more time to cross, 2) “no right on red” signs to reduce right turn crashes and 3) red-light enforcement cameras.
The new traffic calming includes:
- One full set of speed slots on the 1600 block of Washington just east of Chadwick Street
- One full set of speed slots on the 1700 block of Washington between Bouvier and Colorado Streets
- Hardened centerlines mitigating factors contributing to the fatal and serious injury crash history associated with left turns at Washington Avenue and:
- SB Grays Ferry Avenue
- SB 25th Street
- SB 24th Street
- SB 23rd Street
- NB 22nd Street
- SB 21st Street
- NB 20th Street
- SB 19th Street
- NB 18th Street
- SB 17th Street
- NB 16th Street
- SB 15th Street
- There is also a hardened Centerline at Washington and 25th Street to manage the turn radius of vehicles turning onto WB Washington from NB 25th Street.