New bike lanes opened this week as part of the Chestnut Street Repaving and Safety Project. It’s part of the city’s Vision Zero Blueprint to improve safety on Philly streets for both cyclists and pedestrians.
As part of the work, a new parking-separated bikeway was added on Chestnut Street from 45th to 63rd streets.
“These improvements will keep every Philadelphians safe on this corridor, no matter how they get around,” said Councilmember Jamie Gauthier. “I’m so proud of what we’ve delivered for the West Philadelphia community, and I’m proud of what we showed that we could do on a street like this.”
Deputy Managing Director Mike Carroll said adding more protected bike lanes is a good thing for Philadelphia, and it’s just one part of an effort to limit speeding and traffic fatalities in Philadelphia.
“We’re finally looking at a project that provides people with safe options no matter what mode they take down Chestnut Street,” he said.
Part of the effort to slow people down could include the addition of speed cameras on some high speed areas, including Broad Street, Henry Avenue, Lincoln Drive, and Cobbs Creek Parkway.
The city plans to request additional cameras from Harrisburg next year, along with making the pilot program along Roosevelt Boulevard permanent.
In 2021, there were 121 traffic deaths on Philadelphia streets, making it the second-deadliest year for traffic crashes since 1999.
The city is working on expanding the speed camera program into certain high traffic areas other than Roosevelt Blvd., including Broad Street, Henry Avenue, Lincoln Drive, and Cobbs Creek Parkway.
Chestnut Street isn’t the only place on a lane “diet” to cut down the number of auto and truck travel lanes. Washington Avenue is also in the process of being slimmed down east of Broad Street. Communities west of Broad Street did not agree with the cuts so it will be paved with the current multi-lane configuration.
Despite the safety efforts, the city’s Vision Zero Annual Report showed Philadelphia has among the highest rate of traffic deaths, with seven per 100,000 residents. Only Los Angeles had a higher rate among major U.S. cities, with 7.38 traffic deaths per 100,000. New York City’s rate was much lower at 2.59 deaths per 100,000 residents.
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