Significant changes are coming to one of the Northeast’s busiest intersections.
State and local transportation officials on Thursday unveiled plans to redesign Cottman and Frankford avenues and gathered feedback from the public during an open house at the Mayfair Community Center.
The goal of the design is to simplify the intersection without negatively impacting traffic, said Nick Cinciruk, district traffic engineer for the city Department of Streets.
A concept design included changing the direction of the one-way traffic on Ryan Avenue from westbound to eastbound; adding curb bump outs to the intersection; the creation of space for the future expansion of the Cottman triangle in front of Republic Bank; a new left turn lane for vehicles traveling south on Frankford to turn onto Cottman; and the elimination of the right-turn slip lane for traffic heading westbound on Cottman.
Cinciruk said the plans are not final and may be changed. Officials expect construction to begin next summer.
The alterations are aimed at improving safety at the intersection and increasing foot traffic to support local businesses.
There were 42 reported crashes at the intersection, including 10 involving pedestrians, from 2012 to 2017. Extending the curb shortens the crosswalk for pedestrians and forces cars to make sharper turns, which requires them to slow down, according to the presentation.
“It’s like playing human Frogger trying to cross the street,” said Marc Collazzo, executive director of the Mayfair Business Improvement District.
The BID holds many of its events at Cottman and Frankford, and Collazzo, who attended the open house, welcomed the opportunity to expand the triangle.
“We’re thrilled,” he said. “I think it can really help increase our revitalization plans here.”
Collazzo and the BID would have to raise funds to enhance the plaza, but transportation officials said the rest of the project will be funded by the state Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Improvement Program, which receives federal money.
PennDOT is still working to determine the cost of the project, representatives said.
State officials were considering removing a lane on Frankford Avenue, but a 2017 study commissioned by PennDOT determined that it would have a negative effect on traffic flow.
The second phase of the project is looking at potential transportation and safety improvements on Frankford Avenue between Cheltenham Avenue and Rhawn Street.
Thursday’s open house included poster boards where residents could pin stickers on a map to show where they would like to see sidewalk, pedestrian, vehicle or bicycle improvements. Post-it Notes were provided so they could give specific recommendations.
Possibilities included adding lighting, bus shelters, bicycle parking and other amenities to the 2.7-mile strip.
The Department of Streets is also working on a plan to redesign Cottman Avenue just down the road, between Roosevelt Boulevard and Castor Avenue.
For more information on the Frankford Avenue project, visit www.dvrpc.org/Corridors/FrankfordAve. ••