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, 6:00 AM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


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."

Monday, March 9, 2015 in PlanPhilly

Street-level view of sharrow symbol on asphalt with parked car in background

How Sharrows Became Cycling’s Most Hated Symbol

Originally designed as a low-cost way to encourage safer road sharing between bikes and cars, the sharrow has become a symbol of the lack of commitment to protected bike infrastructure in many cities.

August 2, 2022 - Denverite

A image of the World's Columbian Exposition overlayed with a picture of Keanu Reeves in the rain from the movie Point Break.

Keanu Reeves Set to Play Daniel Burnham in ‘The Devil in the White City’

Planning is going to get a new level of star power as a limited series adaptation of The Devil in the White City gets ready for television screens in 2024.

August 8, 2022 - Reel Chicago

View from middle of street in downtown Telluride, Colorado with mountains in background

Marrying Urban Identity and Economic Prosperity

A new book posits that truly successful communities have a strong economic base and a firmly rooted sense of place.

August 5, 2022 - Governing

Women Public Space

Urban Design Through a Gender Lens

Building cities to be safe and accessible for women and LGBTQIA+ people has benefits for all users of public space.

26 minutes ago - Architecture Daily

Rendering of downtown Milwaukee sports stadium with soccer field

Sports Stadiums Bring Few Economic Benefits

While their developers often tout jobs and local economic development as benefits of major stadium projects, research shows these venues often make little impact on local economies.

1 hour ago - Urban Milwaukee

Dallas Freeways

A How-To for ‘Freeway Fighters’

Ten recommendations for effective freeway removal advocacy.

2 hours ago - Strong Towns

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.