PlanPhilly

Traffic & Transportation

    • Woodland Cemetery petition

Petition wants to make visiting the dead at Woodlands Cemetery safer for the living

Woodlands Cemetery director Jessica Baumert wants people to visit the historic West Philadelphia burial grounds. But those visits shouldn't turn into permanent stays because of the dangerous road conditions right outside…

    • Commuters are shown exiting a SEPTA bus. (AP Photo/Joseph Kaczmarek, file

Philly NAACP chapter accuses SEPTA of 'toxic' work culture

Over the weekend, the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP accused SEPTA management of creating a “toxic” work environment among lower-level management of union-represented employees. “Of course, their cases are all different,”…

    • This post-collision photograph shows the three trains involved in the 2017 SEPTA crash. (Photo courtesy of SEPTA)

Federal safety board faults now-retired SEPTA operator for 2017 El fender-bender

A newly released final report from the National Transportation Safety Board found a SEPTA train operator squarely to blame for a Market Frankford Line crash that injured four people last year.…

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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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