Bicycle Coalition

Tracking speed at 63rd and Lansdowne, where 8-year-old Jayanna Powell was killed in 2016

In March 2017, Councilpeople Curtis Jones, Jr., Kenyatta Johnson and Brian O’Neill introduced Bill 170244, which would have required the city to take immediate action after a fatal crash occurs.

The bill, which would amend the city’s traffic code, would “require a report, recommendation and appropriate safety improvements regarding hazardous intersections” after a pedestrian is killed by a motor vehicle when it fails to yield or unlawfully passes a trolley.

That bill, unfortunately, sat idle throughout 2017. Ninety-six people were killed in traffic crashes throughout the year—71 of whom were killed after the Councilpeople introduced this bill.

Jones’, Johnson’s, and O’Neill’s bill was, in part, a response to the Bicycle Coalition’s advocacy, which included a street audit of 63rd and Lansdowne, where 8-year-old Jayanna Powell was killed by an out-of-control hit-and-run driver. While there, we found persistent speeding motor vehicles and neighbors who were fed up with the way people in motor vehicles use 63rd Street as a highway.

Jones’ bill would improve traffic control devices at bad intersections after a crash and create a more incentivous reward program to find killers in hit-and-run cases.

“As Chair of Public Safety, I’ve learned being safe means different things to different people,” Councilman Jones told the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia after releasing the bill. “For a child or a senior crossing a busy intersection safety can mean drivers adhering to the vehicle code.”

Given Philadelphia continues seeing an increase in pedestrian traffic deaths, it’s important Jones, Johnson, and O’Neill move on their bill when City Council comes back to work on January 25.

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