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The Challenge of Redesigning an Accident-Prone Street

Philadelphia's Washington Avenue experienced 915 car crashes between 2010 and 2013. The city wants to minimize risk in its redesign, but lacks the space to install every suggested improvement.
March 18, 2015, 6am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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After experiencing a high rate of car crashes, many involving pedestrians, Philadelphia will redesign Washington Avenue. Compromise from a "complete streets" ideal is expected. From the article: "Median islands aren't currently on the table for the Washington Ave redesign, because a turning lane has been planned for that space. As city planner Jeannette Brugger pointed out to Ashley Hahn this fall, when she asked about adding a buffered bike lane, there's only so much space on the street."

A reduction in vehicle capacity is also on the table, which planners hope will curb the street's high accident potential. "Even with just one lane in each direction, a four-way intersection has 32 potential conflict points for vehicles to collide with one another, and 24 potential conflict points for vehicles to collide with pedestrians. So reducing the number of lanes from five to three, as the Planning Commission is proposing, would reduce the number of potential conflict points exponentially and dramatically improve the odds for pedestrians."

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Published on Monday, March 9, 2015 in PlanPhilly
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