New traffic plans announced for Philadelphia’s Washington Avenue

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) – The long-awaited and debated Washington Avenue rehabilitation and improvement project is about to progress.

The Office for Transport Infrastructure and Sustainability conducted several surveys on the project. The agency says that in 2021, 95% of survey takers said the road should be changed.

Following Friday’s announcement, there will only be major changes on one eight-block section.

“People on the east side will drive slower and that’s a good thing, they need to be more aware of their surroundings,” said Michael Carroll, OTIS associate general manager.

On the east side of Broad Street, Councilman Mark Squilla’s District 1, protected bike lanes and fewer lanes will be established from 4th to 11th Streets.

“People go down there to the Asian and Italian markets. They can park their bikes there and ride in,” said Enrique Rivera of South Philadelphia.

Lanes will remain unchanged on the west side of Broad Street, District 2 Washington Avenue by Council Member Kenyatta Johnson.

“We see that the cross section will go in from 12 Street to Grays Ferry Avenue without this legislation,” Michael Carroll said.

There was heated debate on both sides of Broad Street and on both sides of the issue.

Jeff Redel says his Italian Market store on 9th Street will suffer from the new traffic pattern.

“If it ain’t broke, then why are you fixing it?” said Redel.

He predicts that the surrounding apartment blocks will see more truck traffic.

OTIS will conduct 1 and 2 year traffic studies on the surrounding blocks to determine if neighboring blocks will be adversely affected.

Others say non-motorists need more protection.

“The advice I got was, ‘Bike like you’re going to die,’ and that’s what kept me alive because the bike lanes are terrible,” said Maddie Allard of West Philadelphia.

The Office for Transportation Infrastructure and Sustainability says paving work will begin in August.

Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All rights reserved. New traffic plans announced for Philadelphia’s Washington Avenue

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