PlanPhilly

Traffic & Transportation

    • A stretch of Lincoln Drive

Putting the brakes on Lincoln Drive's raceway

When Kittura Dior was growing up in Mount Airy in the 1960s, she got used to feeling her house shake every so often, when cars veered off Lincoln Drive and slammed…

    • Newer homes with garages.

City Council tweaks bill requiring developers to provide more parking in Philly neighborhoods

A measure that would require developers to build more parking along with new housing got a major haircut in City Council on Wednesday. The mandatory parking minimum bill revised by the council’s…

    • Residents offered input at a meeting.

Transforming Washington Ave. from a divider to a connector

Navigating parts of Washington Avenue can feel so daunting and dangerous, a pedestrian might envy the street’s namesake, who only had to cross a frozen river on his way to Trenton.…

VIEW MORE

ABOUT TRAFFIC & TRANSPORTATION

A region’s transportation network is its skeleton and its veins, providing the structure and framework for people to live and circulate. This network can encourage smart and sensitive development, or it can foster living habits that cause unsustainable and environmentally harmful development patterns.

Transportation networks for most metropolitan areas in the country changed dramatically after the Federal Highway Act of 1956, which appropriated $41 billion to construct 41,000 miles of interstate roads. This sparked a sudden transformation of the urban landscape, with more and more people moving out of the city and into low-density suburban developments.

Today, we are a suburban nation, and the automobile has become the only way to travel for most Americans. Roads continue to expand, people move further away from places of work and commerce, and cities continue to struggle because of shrinking populations and tax bases. Metro areas have become so decentralized away from cities that auto congestion is significantly increasing, even as our federal government transportation dollars are predominantly dedicated to widening our road systems. Attempts to ease road congestion by building more driving lanes have had limited success, as the street-widening often brings more drivers onto the roads. Such street designs makes alternate transportation methods impossible, as walking or biking are too dangerous and sprawl communities are too spread-out and disjointed to support a public mass transit or bus system.

With President Obama’s “economic stimulus” bill, there has been a new focus on dedicating federal dollars to alternate transportation projects such as public transit. In fact, the two largest transit stimulus projects are occurring in Philadelphia: the renovation of the Girard Avenue and Spring Garden Street stations along the Broad Street Line ($25 million).

Many cities change their land use planning and regulations to encourage development around important road intersections or public transportation centers using a model known as Transit Oriented Development. Such smart growth ideas will be the model going forward, especially as we get closer to costing out the true cost of driving individual automobiles everywhere.

UPCOMING EVENTS IN TRAFFIC & TRANSPORTATION

VIEW MORE

Logging in via Facebook

Log in

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Which weekly emails would you like to receive?