PlanPhilly

Traffic & Transportation

    • South 13th Street puddle, Photo by Philadelphia Photos

Streets Dept. Summer Construction Update: Potholes (still), 41st Bridge, trails, roads and more

Every now and again, we like to check in with Philadelphia Streets Department Chief Engineer, Darin Gatti, to find out what the boys in neon green and safety-cone orange are up…

    • Parking Meters

PPA okays pay-by-phone parking app, electric vehicle charging at PHL

The Philadelphia Parking Authority selected Pango USA as contractor for installing and implementing a pay-by-phone parking app. The company already provides similar services in Phoenix, Harrisburg and Wilkes-Barre. Philadelphia will be…

    • One Port Center

DRPA Dispatch: Applying for Fed. cash to reopen Franklin Square; Refurbished cars finally here; Ben Franklin Bridge track work ahead of schedule

The Delaware River Port Authority board authorized an application for a federal TIGER VII grant to fund reopening of the Franklin Square PATCO Station. The project would cost an estimated $28…

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ABOUT TRAFFIC & TRANSPORTATION

A region’s transportation network is its skeleton and its veins, providing the structure and framework for people to live and circulate. This network can encourage smart and sensitive development, or it can foster living habits that cause unsustainable and environmentally harmful development patterns.

Transportation networks for most metropolitan areas in the country changed dramatically after the Federal Highway Act of 1956, which appropriated $41 billion to construct 41,000 miles of interstate roads. This sparked a sudden transformation of the urban landscape, with more and more people moving out of the city and into low-density suburban developments.

Today, we are a suburban nation, and the automobile has become the only way to travel for most Americans. Roads continue to expand, people move further away from places of work and commerce, and cities continue to struggle because of shrinking populations and tax bases. Metro areas have become so decentralized away from cities that auto congestion is significantly increasing, even as our federal government transportation dollars are predominantly dedicated to widening our road systems. Attempts to ease road congestion by building more driving lanes have had limited success, as the street-widening often brings more drivers onto the roads. Such street designs makes alternate transportation methods impossible, as walking or biking are too dangerous and sprawl communities are too spread-out and disjointed to support a public mass transit or bus system.

With President Obama’s “economic stimulus” bill, there has been a new focus on dedicating federal dollars to alternate transportation projects such as public transit. In fact, the two largest transit stimulus projects are occurring in Philadelphia: the renovation of the Girard Avenue and Spring Garden Street stations along the Broad Street Line ($25 million).

Many cities change their land use planning and regulations to encourage development around important road intersections or public transportation centers using a model known as Transit Oriented Development. Such smart growth ideas will be the model going forward, especially as we get closer to costing out the true cost of driving individual automobiles everywhere.

UPCOMING EVENTS IN TRAFFIC & TRANSPORTATION

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