PlanPhilly

Traffic & Transportation

    • buffered bike lane chestnut

During the mayoral campaign, Kenney promised to build 30+ miles of protected bicycle lanes. Almost 2 years later, where are we?

In the 2015 mayoral race, then-candidate Jim Kenney pledged to build more than 30 miles of protected bicycle lanes in Philadelphia, to accompany the more than 400 miles of unprotected bicycle…

    • A cyclist and drivers cross the Chestnut Street Bridge. PennDOT plans to move the bike lane to the left side during reconstruction.

Major rehab of Chestnut Street Bridge will close it for a year starting summer 2019, PennDOT says

Construction over the Schuylkill River is never an easy process for Philadelphia. And now, the bridges in Center City that have gone without repair for decades are finally getting a long…

    • SEPTA Control Center: Market-Frankford El and Broad Street lines

Train derails on Market Frankford elevated line, few injuries reported

A SEPTA Market Frankford elevated line train derailed Saturday morning near Spring Garden Station. A SEPTA spokesman said around 30 passengers were on the train at the time it went off…

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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

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