PlanPhilly

Traffic & Transportation

    • Manhole covers will be reset before resurfacing.

Is your street on the list? Paving season rolls on

In theory, it’s spring right now. Sure, it’s been cold and overcast all week, but as far as calendars are concerned: springtime. Spring is a time for renewal and remaking. It’s…

    • Regional Rail Paoli/Thorndale

As SEPTA Key rolls out, how will weekend TransPass rides work?

At SEPTA’s operational budget hearings earlier this week, Douglas Diehl, a dedicated transit advocate familiar to those of us who frequent SEPTA’s sundry public meetings, asked a question that stumped…

    • Open Streets

Councilman Johnson schedules hearings for Open Streets initiative

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson introduced a resolution today calling for a hearings on the Open Streets initiative in Philadelphia. Johnson expressed support for the initiative, which aims to close long stretches of…

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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

  • May 4, 2016
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