On Monday, March 1, 6:30pm, at the Christian Street YMCA, Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation Infrastructure and Sustainability (oTIS) will reveal their final plan for re-configuring the pavement markings of Washington Avenue from Gray’s Ferry to 4th Street.

As described in previous posts and in numerous articles over the past month, oTIS abandoned its three-lane option that it had selected in September 2021, ostensibly because either:

  • the parking and loading for the three-lane option was going to cause unacceptable backups and spillover of vehicles into neighborhood streets, or
  • there were concerns from a small number of neighbors who strongly opposed any change to Washington Avenue, or
  • that’s what Councilmen Johnson and Squilla told them to do.

What was left on the table was either a four (4) lane option or a mixed (3 & 4) lane option.

oTIS told the public that it would study the alternatives during the month of February and reveal its chosen design on March 1.

Our central position is that the 3 lane option, the safest option, should be the one that is used to reconfigure the corridor. Now with that option eliminated, we reviewed the “4-lane” and “3-4 mixed lane” options and have come to the following recommendations:

We support the mixed lane option which is safer than the 4 lane layout. We urge the City to install the three-lane cross-section wherever it is possible. The three-lane configuration reduces the crossing distance by seven feet. And while the four-lane option retains the protected bike lane, the design includes a dangerous conflict between bicyclists and SEPTA bus drivers picking up or discharging passengers.

For the 4-lane sections we recommend adding the following Proven Safety Countermeasures
1. A leading pedestrian interval (advanced walk signal) at signalized intersections
2. A pedestrian refuge island at intersections with one-way streets on the non-turn lane side of the intersection

For the protected bike lane
Use a lane separator system such as Qwik Kurb instead of the standard delineator posts (here is an example on the Grays Ferry Bridge).
As suggested in the concept drawings, install bike lane corner islands wherever possible.

Making the Changes Permanent (Phase 2)
Construct permanent concrete protection for floating bus stops, center median refuge islands, and bike lane corner islands.

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