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2011 turned out to be a hot year for Philadelphia public transit users, bicyclists, and pedestrians

This past year was notable for the amount of cooperation between Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU), the Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC), SEPTA, the Center City District, and others to improve sustainable transportation in the city. Along with this, SEPTA received grants and private sector investment to decrease the footprint of its buses and trains. 

The city and SEPTA had a common goal of trying to speed up buses in 2011. The two have been deeply intrigued by giving transit vehicles traffic signal priority, which would entail using smart traffic lights that can sense when a SEPTA vehicle approaches and then stay green for a little longer. The city and SEPTA were rewarded for these efforts just in time for the holidays with a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to install transit signal priority along Castor, Oxford, and Bustleton Aves. in Northeast Philadelphia, according to the office of U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz.

It was also a fruitful year for bicycle and pedestrian proponents in Philadelphia. MOTU embarked on an experiment to remove a lane of vehicular traffic on Market St. and JFK Blvd. between 15th and 20th Sts. to test the feasibility of making the lanes buffered bike lanes with vegetation. From all accounts, it looks like this experiment was a success. The City Planning Commission also presented an ambitious plan to dramatically bolster conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians in Southwest and West Philadelphia.  

Sources: Andrew Stober and Aaron Ritz, Philadelphia Office of Transportation and Utilities, Dan Goodman, Toole Design
Writer: Andy Sharpe
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