Over the years, the City has heard many things about Washington Avenue from neighbors and businesses. In particular, issues with parking, loading, crossing the street, and riding a bicycle on Washington Avenue. The road is scheduled to be repaved in 2021 with committed federal funding, which gives us the opportunity to improve how it functions.
OTIS analyzed how Washington Avenue operates today based on community input. We analyzed traffic, parking, loading, transit, and safety. There were 254 crashes on Washington Avenue between 2012 and 2018. Four people died in these crashes, and six other people were seriously injured. OTIS used engineering guidance and computer simulations to see what road layouts would work and what would not work.
OTIS used that analysis to come up with three layout options for Washington Avenue. All three options would make Washington Avenue a safer, more functional roadway than it is today.
We need your help choosing a layout for Washington Avenue between 4th Street to Grays Ferry Avenue.
OTIS wants to make sure we follow all the guidelines put in place by the Department of Public Health while having the most inclusive outreach possible. That’s why we are conducting digital, mail, and phone outreach and communications. Unfortunately, we can’t have the kinds of in person open houses and meetings many residents, organizations, and business owners are used to. So, we are finding other ways to hear from people. All our outreach materials will be available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Simplified Chinese.
Project Goal: Improve Washington Avenue for Everyone
Repaving is a chance to change the design of the roadway and make it work better for people walking, driving, riding transit, and biking. We can also make sure parking and loading works well for local businesses and neighbors. With this project, the City wants to:
- Create a smoother street
Repaving will make the roadway surface smoother. Washington Avenue will be better for people using the road by driving, taking transit, or riding bikes. It also means that people crossing the street have a smooth walking surface.
- Create safer and shorter pedestrian crossings
Right now, people have to cross five driving lanes to get across Washington Avenue. That can be difficult for people with mobility issues, people with children, and others. Making the distance shorter will allow more people to cross Washington Avenue easily.It is important for people in cars and on bikes to easily see people walking across the street. A big part of this project will be changing parking and loading regulations to improve pedestrian visibility.
- Improve parking and loading
There are a lot of businesses along Washington Avenue. Those businesses need space to load and unload. Customers need space to park when they go shopping. That space isn’t available right now because parking on Washington Avenue is not regulated and, on average, cars stay parked for a long time.Today, when cars and trucks can’t find a place to park, some decide to double park, park in the median, or even on the sidewalk. This slows traffic, delays buses, and makes walking hard or even dangerous.This project will install timed parking along Washington Avenue. It will also install new loading zones for businesses. When business hours end, timed parking and loading zones will turn into overnight parking for neighbors.Regulating parking and loading during the day will make more spaces available, which should reduce illegal parking. The City will work in partnership with PPA to enforce safe parking and loading regulations.
- Improve protection between bicycles and moving traffic
One of the main goals of this project is to install protected bike lanes on Washington Avenue. These bike lanes will keep bikes and cars separated and will help calm traffic along the roadway.Right now, Washington Avenue has two standard bike lanes. We’ve heard from people who drive and from people who ride bikes that they want cars and bikes separated. Separating cars and bikes is safer for people riding bikes. It is also more comfortable for people driving.
Project Goal: Reduce speeding and maintain steady traffic flow
This project aims to calm traffic along Washington Avenue while maintaining a steady traffic flow. In all three layout options for the future, Washington Avenue has fewer driving lanes than it does today. oTIS collected traffic data in 2019 and used it to model what will and will not work to keep traffic moving, while driving slightly slower.
All three future layout options mean people driving at rush hour may experience additional travel time. For example, at rush hour, it may take someone driving five seconds more to travel each block.
Some drivers may decide to take a different route. The “3 Lane Option” assumes 10 percent of people driving at rush hour will choose a different route; and the Mixed Lane Option assumes 5 percent will choose a different route. All three layout options will make traffic calmer and make drivers go slightly slower, but none of the options will lead to major traffic jams or congestion.
To offset some of these delays and help vehicles flow more smoothly through the corridor, this project will update all the traffic signal timing on Washington Avenue. Instead of stopping at a red light every other block, signals will be better synchronized with the pace of car travel. This will make a big difference in keeping cars moving, even during rush hour, providing a more consistent, predictable driving experience.
Project Goal: Improve SEPTA Route 64 Bus Stops
Right now, people who ride the Route 64 bus don’t have a space to stand when they get on and off the bus. Sometimes they must stand in the street. When this happens, they can come into conflict with people driving or people biking.
This project will create dedicated space for people getting on and off the bus. We can do that by installing floating bus islands on Washington Avenue. The number of bus islands and their locations will depend on what layout you help us choose.
How You Can Help
Learn more about this project by watching a series of short videos (available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Simplified Chinese) explaining the details of the project. The videos will guide you through the project and explain details of all three layout options. They will also explain the planned parking and loading changes.
Once you have watched the videos, please complete this brief survey. The City will review the survey responses in order to help determine which layout will be installed on Washington Avenue.
The survey is also available in:
To learn more about the Washington Avenue Repaving and Improvement Project, visit www.bit.ly/ImproveWashington, send comments and questions to VisionZero@phila.gov, or text or call (215) 436-9886.