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Local South Philly residents and organizations are calling on Mayor Kenney to fulfill his promise of implementing the Vision Zero initiative to limit traffic accidents and deaths. Photo Courtesy of The City of Philadelphia.
Local South Philly residents and organizations are calling on Mayor Kenney to fulfill his promise of implementing the Vision Zero initiative to limit traffic accidents and deaths. Photo Courtesy of The City of Philadelphia.

Organizations, including the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia, call on Mayor Kenney to revamp Washington Ave.

The four lane avenue is considered extremely dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists.

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Double parking, potholes, and car accidents are what makes up Washington Avenue in South Philly right now.

Residents are calling on public officials to change that concept.

On Thursday, June 2, 2022, local residents and group organizations in South Philadelphia called on Mayor Jim Kenney to fulfill his promise of implementing his Vision Zero initiative to limit traffic accidents and deaths.

Last year, the Kenney administration promised locals that they will resolve traffic fatalities by 2030. However, those numbers have been on the rise.

The city recently announced that a new initiative will be added in their efforts to make Washington Avenue more clear and less dangerous. The Mixed Lane configuration of Washington Avenue is supposed to begin at Fourth Street and Grays Ferry Ave.

However, residents are feeling the threat of having a completely different design of Washington Avenue that will get rid of added space for bicyclists.

State Senator Nikil Saval has been open about his stance on remodeling the street and has been on board since day one.

“The Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability (oTIS) has proposed a plan that improves safety on Washington Avenue for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians,” Saval said in a press release. “While it does not go as far as I hoped it would, the mixed-lane design represents a significant upgrade that will improve the lives of my constituents who travel on or live adjacent to the Avenue.”

Talks about the redesign of Washington Ave have been ongoing for years. Just last year it was announced that the road will be completely redesigned.

On March 1, 2022, oTIS released its final plan for reconfiguring Washington Avenue: the revised mixed lane plan.

The proposal states that the repavement of the avenue will begin by the end of 2022. The remodeling also includes a combination of three, four, and five lanes, and a protected bike lane on each side of the corridor across 17 of the 22 blocks. 

However, residents are calling for a three lane avenue in order to protect pedestrians and bicyclists.

Sarah Clarke Stuart, the executive director of The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, has been an advocate for the Vision Zero initiative and believes that the mixed lane plan will decrease traffic congestion and save lives.

“The mixed lane option is a compromise that offers a much improved level of safety for everyone over the current 5 lane existing condition,” said Stuart.

The three lane configuration will limit traffic and will be safer for those who have to cross the avenue.

Although the mixed lane plan has been a solid choice for the redesign of Washington Ave, it has also been revised to add more safety features including, pedestrian head start signal timing, speed cushions, and automated red light cameras.

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