Bit by Bit Washington Ave Gets Striped

This month, the Streets Department is laying down thermoplastic markings (a.k.a. fresh coat of line paint) on parts of Washington Avenue.  As we described in a June blog post, a new striping plan (officially called the Washington Avenue Transportation and Parking Study) was developed by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission after two public meetings in late 2013 and early 2014 and several advisory group meetings with residents and businesses.  The new striping plan addresses safety concerns because on average, Washington Avenue experiences:

  • 6 crashes per week
  • 1 crash every 10 days that involves an injury or a car requiring towing
  • 1 crash every 3 weeks injuring a pedestrian or bicyclist

To improve safety for all users of Washington Avenue, the Streets Department is using Automated Red Light Enforcement (ARLE) funding to implement sections of the street’s new plan.

Because some sections of Washington Avenue require dropping a travel lane in order to change the parking configurations and add in new loading zones, the striping is being done in phases.  Three sections of blocks that do not require dropping a travel lane will receive full pavement markings this month:

  • Grays Ferry to 25th
  • 16th to 13th
  • 4th to Columbus

Two sections of blocks will only receive partial markings (center turning lanes and outside lanes) because full City Council approval is needed in order to complete the striping.

  • 25th to 16th
  • 13th to 4th

Ordinances from Councilman Squilla and Johnson need to be introduced and passed out of the Streets & Services Committee and City Council in order for the Streets Department to for forward with striping the blocks between 25th and 16th/13th and 4th.  There is a timing issue because striping has to happen during relatively warm weather (above 40 degrees). If the ordinances do not pass in time this fall, striping cannot occur until Spring 2015.  Our understanding is that both Councilmen are organizing additional meetings in September with civic organizations before they introduce the ordinances.  Having a fully completed and safe Washington Avenue by end of the 2014 paving season is what we think should be the end goal.  A fully contiguous standard bike lane is a component of the pavement marking plan; currently the bike lane does not exist between 11th and 7th Streets.

Despite the phased nature of this striping, the Streets Department is going ahead with installing the following bicycle safety measures.

13th St_Wash Ave Bike Box

13th St & Wash Ave bike box first seen on Sept. 11, 2014

bikebox at 22nd Street

two stage left turn box on the SE corner of 18th/Washington

-two stage left turn box on the NW corner of 15th/Washington

-two stage left turn box on the SE corner of 13th/Washington

-two stage left turn box on the SE corner of 5th/Washington

-two stage left turn box on the NW corner of Moyamensing/Washington

-new green conflict zone markings on northbound Moyamensing approach

-bikebox at northbound Moyamensing approach

-green conflict zone eastbound Washington between Water and Columbus

-bikebox at eastbound Washington approach to Columbus


Topics: Biking in Philly, Featured

7 comments on “Bit by Bit Washington Ave Gets Striped

  1. Aaron B

    Please keep us informed about the neighborhood meetings.

    We need to make sure Squilla knows that more paint is a half-measure and that we still want actual bike infrastructure.

    • Joe

      Aaron B., maybe if you lived in the neighborhood, you would get notifications about the meetings from your neighborhood association. Otherwise you’re just crashing a meeting that you have no business being a part of. Why don’t we let the public planning process take shape without barnstorming everyone’s meetings?

  2. Bill West

    If my life’s on the line, I’m going to show up at the meeting. If somebody tells me about it. This is a city. This is a city. There are neighborhoods. Stakeholders from other neighborhoods are not “outside agitators.” They are your fellow citizens.

  3. Michael

    Citizens from neighborhoods all over this city ride on Washington Ave, which Joe- stretches through multiple neighborhoods. We all should have our voices heard. Anyone who uses the infrastructure is entitled to their voice being heard. I live in Kensington and use Washington Ave to ride to work twice a day everyday. Why is my voice for my own safety not allowed in your worldview?

  4. James Price

    Hi Sarah, do you have the email address and phone numbers of councilman Johnson and Squilla? Id like to reach out to show support. Thanks for all your hard work!

  5. Joe

    So we’re forsaking the voices of the adjacent communities for voices that tout the “greater city” good. Robert Moses would be proud.

    Your voices can be heard, but you should be mindful that you don’t drown out the voices of the neighborhoods that are directly impacted. You have an alternative – you can ride a different route, or take transit. For the folks who live and/or have a business near the project, they don’t have another alternative. Surely you don’t believe that your voice in this context should be louder than theirs?

    Bill, if you really believed that your life was on the line, wouldn’t you choose to take the bus? Or ride on another cross street? Or is the convenience worth the tremendous risk (that you imply) each time you hop on your bike and ride down Wash Ave?

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