PHILADELPHIA – Today, the Streets Department along with the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability (OTIS), and the School District of Philadelphia commemorated traffic improvements for school students with the installation of permanent asphalt speed cushions around 50 public, private and charter schools. The celebration took place at the Philadelphia Military Academy.
“As students travel to and from school, it is more important than ever to work to help mitigate any occurrences that allow for excessive speeding, particularly in our residential neighborhoods,” said Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams. “The Streets Department is committed to providing quality, safe travel for all Philadelphia children. Young people deserve to be able to get to school, go to the playground, or walk to a friend’s house without fear of excessive speeding.”
In March of this year, Councilmember Phillips introduced the Student Safety Pedestrian Bill which authorizes the Streets Department to expedite the process for installing traffic calming measures on streets in the vicinity of schools and recreation centers. The Streets Department is pleased to support this bill as it helps to reduce installation time for approval of critical traffic calming measures designed to protect our citizens, especially our children.
The bill allows the Streets Department to install permanent speed cushions in designated areas without requiring a traffic study, which is normally a required process. This process has been cumbersome for communities eager to have some type of measure to slow down the speeding they experience in their neighborhoods.
In response to the bill, the Streets Department immediately initiated installation of these critical traffic calming tools around schools. Using traffic studies and crash data, it has been proven that speed cushions help to reduce crashes caused by excessive speeding. The legislation allows the Streets Department to design and create safe streets, promote safe and reduced vehicular speeds, and provide sustainable traffic calming measures across the city. To accomplish this the Department is:
- Using established crash data criteria and speed ratings
- Cross referencing request lists from City Council, the High Injury Network, and schools
- Overlaying the city’s paving list with speed cushion request lists allowing for speed cushions to be installed as part of the paving process
As part of this year’s paving season, the Streets Department worked with contractors to complete installation of asphalt speed cushions around the 50 schools. To ensure that paving projects prioritize traffic safety, the Streets Department works closely with the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability (OTIS) to support the city’s Vision Zero initiatives.
“The city recently won $220 million in federal, state, and local traffic safety grants,” said Mike Carroll, Deputy Managing Director for the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability (OTIS). “We are receiving this funding thanks in large part to the extensive planning work we’ve done with communities across the city. These grant dollars are going directly to improving our streets. School speed cushions are a great example of city government taking action to enhance safety for children.”
The School District of Philadelphia is a key partner in this initiative and many of the other Streets Department projects related to school safety. Along with installing permanent speed cushions the Streets Department is also advancing School Slow Zones at various schools to address traffic safety around schools.
The Streets Department is currently planning for another round of schools to receive permanent speed cushions. Installation of the traffic calming devices will be based on funding allocated and available resources.
Traffic safety is the priority as the Streets Department continues to keep the city clean, safe, and moving. It is the goal of the Streets Department to support the city’s Vision Zero goal of zero fatalities on Philadelphia streets by slowing down the speed of cars around schools, recreational centers, and other places where we know children frequently visit to help protect their safety along with pedestrians, bicyclists, and all multi-modal users.
For more information on the Department of Streets, please visit www.phila.gov/streets.