PlanPhilly

Traffic & Transportation

    • The 5:05 Express to Norristown arrives at Suburban Station

“Excellent” transportation network driving force behind Philly’s pitch to Amazon

Like nearly every other city in North America, Philadelphia is putting the final touches on its bid to convince Amazon to build its second headquarters here ahead of Thursday’s deadline. The…

    • SEPTA regional rail | Bob Bruhin, EOTS Flickr Group

Analysis: How SEPTA can turn Regional Rail in Philly into high-frequency rapid transit

Philadelphia has a bunch of passenger rail lines, but only a few fast and frequent enough to be considered “rapid”: PATCO and SEPTA’s Broad Street and the Market Frankford Elevated Lines.…

    • Mayor Jim Kenney poses with the Vision Zero Task Force. Not pictured: A single member of City Council

With Vision Zero Action Plan, city outlines strategy for making residents care enough about traffic safety to accept slower streets

At a press conference in the Mayor’s Reception Room in City Hall, the Vision Zero Task Force announced the release of its Action Plan, a three-year, multi-pronged approach to drive…

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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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