City of Philadelphia
Robert Wright, P.E.
Traffic & Parking
Signals & ITS
Evaluation and assessment of pedestrian, traffic and transit flow and operational difficulties
This project is a work order assignment as part of the Transportation Operations and Intelligent Transportation Systems (TOITS) open-end engineering services contract that McMahon has with the City of Philadelphia Department of Streets. This work order is valued at just under $200,000 and entails the evaluation and assessment of pedestrian, traffic and transit flow and operational issues/difficulties in the vicinity of the busy Broad Street/Germantown Avenue/Erie Avenue convergence in North Philadelphia. The goal of the effort is to create safe streets and connect people to the shopping district (primarily on Germantown Avenue) with intuitive transit and a comfortable pedestrian environment. In addition to approximately a combined level of traffic of 70,000 vehicles per day on the intersecting streets, six SEPTA transit routes operate and/or terminate in this area and interface with the Broad Street Line at its Erie station, the third busiest stop on the line.
McMahon, with the assistance of KMJ Consultants, gathered traffic volume and crash data, conducted traffic counts and on-street travel and movement observations, completed a topographic survey, and developed traffic and street operational alternatives to address the noted deficiencies and problems with the goal of more efficient travel for all modes, but with a particular emphasis on pedestrian safety given the large number of pedestrians passing through this intersection. The result of the preliminary engineering/evaluation phase was the creation and evaluation of four alternative treatments to manage traffic and pedestrian movements more efficiently in this area. A selected alternative has been identified, and this option will completely remove through movements on Germantown Avenue, which will enhance traffic operation, create improved pedestrian paths and crosswalks, and simplify transit routes, as well as result in a new pedestrian plaza on the northeast corner of the intersection.
Challenges that were faced include:
Handling high levels of traffic on Broad Street – the removal of the Germantown Avenue traffic signal will improve movement through the intersection and result in fewer delays
Removal of the unused trolley track median on Erie Avenue – this will allow additional space for bicycle accommodation, reduce crosswalk distances, and allow SEPTA buses to pull to the curb to load and unload, something currently done in the narrow confines of the trolley median
Accommodation of the on-street SEPTA bus route layovers and curbside stops – some consolidation and relocation of these will benefit riders, particularly those who can choose among two or three routes to reach their destinations
Working with the various project stakeholders to come to mutually-acceptable solutions and getting them to see that compromise was necessary to make sure the project goals would be met and the ultimate solution would require some accommodation on their parts