York Street Improvements a Welcome Change for Riverwards

The intersection of Trenton Avenue, York Street, and Frankford Avenue, from Frankford Ave (via Google)

The intersection of Trenton Avenue, York Street, and Frankford Avenue, from Frankford Ave (via Google)

East York Street, which sort of may divide Fishtown and Kensington, or Fishtown and Olde Richmond, depending on whom you talk to, is getting some welcomed safety improvements this month—and they can’t come too soon.

After a recent meeting between the Fishtown Neighbors Association, the Olde Richmond Civic Association, the Streets Department and Councilman Mark Squilla’s office, road plans were put together and are expected to be done at the end of the month.


  • 8’ by 5.9’ painted STOP legends to streets at intersections before crosswalks
  • Bike lanes, parking lanes and crosswalks from Trenton Ave. to Thompson Street.
  • Additional diagonal gore markings at Thompson and York, where there is currently no crosswalk. (These markings are being put in to prevent cars from riding side-by-side on York.)

“This is super exciting for so many reasons,” says Jenn Bazydlo, who was involved at the August 4 meeting. “For me personally, it is great as it connects the sharrows on Tulip and Cedar almost all the way to the bike lanes on Aramingo, which is how I travel from lower Fishtown and Center City to my house…On a bigger level, it was exciting that people acknowledged bike lanes as an effective traffic calming tool.”

Like Jenn, I’m personally pretty psyched about the traffic light closest to my house getting a makeover.

When crossing York Street on the east side of at the York/Trenton Ave./Frankford Ave. six-point intersection, the light is extremely short — about five seconds. In fact, it’s too short for any pedestrian to safely make it from one side of York Street to the other.

“A work order is being prepared to modify the signal timing at this location to better accommodate pedestrians and improve traffic flow,” according to the Fishtown Neighbors Association newsletter concerning the August 4 meeting. “Pedestrian countdown devices will not be added at this time. The work order for traffic light timing will be placed in the queue for installation. The Streets Department will coordinate with the signal supervisor to request that the work be expedited in anticipation of the start of the school year.”

All this work is expected to be done by August 30. The funds come directly from the Automated Red Light Enforcement program.

Long-term, more ideas were shared to make York Street a better, safer street for all road users. They include additional, physical changes to the six-point intersection at York/Frankford/Trenton, and physical barriers at “key intersections” along York Street.

These changes are being made amid protected bike lane improvements being proposed just a few blocks northeast, on East Lehigh Avenue. “Under future ARLE project, Streets will be considering intersection modification work at York/Trenton/Frankford to make it safer for pedestrians and for the purpose of traffic calming,” continues the FNA email.

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia has been involved in some internal discussion as to what can be done at the six-point intersection, at which people in cars regularly blow through red lights to try and “beat” the yellow, and drivers unfamiliar with the area are clueless as to navigate the area.

Research director John Boyle, Development Coordinator Jorge Brito and I discussed plans for a traffic circle at the intersection and protected bike lanes up and down East York Street, which Boyle put together:

A rough sketch of a traffic circle at the Trenton/York/Frankford intersection

A rough sketch of a traffic circle at the Trenton/York/Frankford intersection

This is a long-term solution to the intersection that we’re still discussing, but either way, we’re very glad to see some safety improvements along York Street in the Riverwards and congratulations to the community groups that helped make it happen.

Topics: Biking in Philly, Connecting Greater Philadelphia Bicycle Network, Featured

5 comments on “York Street Improvements a Welcome Change for Riverwards

  1. Robert Serrano

    I love the round about here. It reminds me of the round abouts in CA! This is a great idea for that area! Make it happen count me in on this! The only thing I would like to see is maybe a tree in the middle of the round about or more depending on how big it is.

  2. Joanne Petroski

    As a resident of York St I am thrilled to see any change that alleviates the cars racing down the street acting as if the Stop signs are merely suggestions for other people and the danger those cars pose to pedestrians.
    But I will say I’m concerned about the development regarding cars needing to back in to park like on 2nd St in Northern Liberties. Delineated parking spaces are also a concern as parking is often difficult here due to the number of businesses and the constant influx of transient parkers.
    In addition, residents of nearby streets have often parked on York St when the limited availability on their streets has reached capacity. This is most troublesome during storms when the ease of pulling straight out of a spot and needing to shovel from just in front of the car is preferred and can’t compare to having dig a car out from its place on parallel parking streets.
    Just some food for thought for the powers that be from the Streets Dept and my neighbors.

  3. Megan P.

    Before celebrating taking money from the ARLE program, please note that a past camera company CEO appears to be headed to prison for a bribery scheme. It appears bribery may have occurred in 12 states. It is well-known that cameras ticket safe drivers and cause crashes, but this is a bridge too far.

    I would like to see the coalition speak out against stuff like this. Urge PA to immediately cease the red-light camera program, as well as back off pursuing other nonsense like the speed cameras and stop-arm cameras. A lot of this stuff does not even work correctly anyway. Proper engineering anyone?

  4. Owen Sindler


    With Cadence Cycles newly relocated above the Wissahickon Transit Center–is there any thought to easing the transition from the end of the outbound bike trail to Main Street–and vice-versa? This is a funky and unsafe stretch for cyclists-


  5. Maureen

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! Finally! I felt like it was a waste to NOT have bike lanes on York st considering how wide it is. Cars followed NO rules. If they wanted to turn, the st turned into a 2 lane st which was so dangerous for cars and bicycles. No turn signals ever either so you just had to go for it and hope for the best. I hope this gives more structure and allowing more safety and less confusion or frustration between cars/bikes. Us cyclists really deserve it! That intersection was HELL too. Always felt like I was going to be sandwiched between a couple cars. So THANK YOU! Let’s try and get something done about Girard ave please though! Seriously the most insanely dangerous road and such a busy one.

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