City wins stimulus grant for smart traffic signals

The city is receiving a $10 million federal stimulus grant to put in new high-tech traffic signals ― $6 million less than it requested.

The traffic signals will employ transit signal priority systems to give SEPTA buses and trolleys extended green lights as they travel.

Original plans called for the city and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to install the systems on the Route 11 trolley in West Philadelphia, as well as bus routes 58 and 59, which serve the Frankford Transportation Center.

Andrew Stober, chief of staff at the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, said the city and stakeholders will decide in the coming weeks whether and how the project would change as a result of the funding discrepancy.

The project is part of a larger effort by the city and SEPTA to speed transit service in the city and included a pilot program to eliminate stops on Route 47, as well as another federal grant to install transit signal priority systems on other city streets.

In addition to the federal money, SEPTA, PennDOT and the city have pledged funding for the project.

The city has received two other grants under the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, program, one to help reconstruct Dilworth Plaza and the other to build a regional bicycle trail network.

In addition to Philadelphia, projects in Pittsburgh and Dauphin County won a piece of the $500 million being competitively bid in this TIGER round.

Losing out was a SEPTA request for money to reconstruct the aging regional rail Wayne Junction power substation and a proposal by the Center City District to construct a cycling track along parts of Market Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard in Center City.

Details of the city’s proposal can be found here.

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