‘Phoenixville is connected’: Borough set to embark on two major transportation projects

The Borough of Phoenixville is looking to complete two transportation construction projects, thanks to a pair of timely grants.

People walk down a sidewalk

File photo: Phoenixville residents and visitors safely walk down a road closed to traffic. (Courtesy of Phoenixville Borough)

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The Borough of Phoenixville aspires to be a town that is well connected.

Officials are aiming to complete two vital transportation projects that add sidewalks and improve traffic and safety.

“With the right amount of view towards connectivity, you can really establish a very viable, walkable community that understands its quality of life,” Borough Manager Jean Krack said.

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The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation recently awarded Phoenixville an $849,775 grant to revitalize Mowere Road. The street’s current conditions do not allow for pedestrian access.

“It’s an important segment of the borough because a lot of growth has occurred on the north side,” Krack said. “But this road goes way back in time. There’s no sidewalks, it transits over top of a watershed area. And then when [Hurricane] Ida came along a couple of years ago, it actually washed out part of the road. So we saw the opportunity to redesign this.”

Borough officials plan to reconstruct the road, create a crosswalk for safer access to the Schuylkill River Trail, and overhaul its stormwater management features.

Design and engineering on the $1.4 million project is complete and construction will begin in the spring of 2024.

Second in line is the Bridge Street and Starr Street Intersection. The area has been the source of heavy traffic congestion for quite some time.

“This is a tremendous project that we’ve been working on for several years,” Borough Council President Jonathan Ewald said. “It is a known intersection that needs improvement both for pedestrian access, standard vehicle as well as truck turning and SEPTA bus turning.”

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Design and engineering work on the roads are set to begin in the fall of 2023. The goal is to enhance the flow of traffic and boost pedestrian safety by adding a straight-through lane northbound on Starr Street, Ewald said.

Borough officials estimate the total cost of the project to be roughly $3 million, but the Chester County Department of Community Development recently awarded Phoenixville a $727,278 Community Revitalization Program grant to fund part of the work..

“We are looking at connecting as many neighborhoods as possible through improved sidewalk connections and pedestrian access,” Ewald said. “One of our major development goals for the past few years has been to connect as many communities and many neighborhoods in our community to the trail networks that we have.”

He said the borough has been developing a 10-year strategy to improve sidewalk coverage in Phoenixville.

Officials have ambitions of creating a “15-minute walkable town,” Ewald said.

In recent years, Phoenixville has leveraged its streets to spur economic development. The borough has also been one of the municipalities leading the way to resurrect the historic Reading Railroad as the new Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority.

“Phoenixville is connected and we really wanted to show how connected we are via the trail system, the walking of sidewalks, and the vehicular accessibility to the borough,” Krack said.

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