Headline: Open house hosted on changes coming to Frankford Avenue
Excerpt: The intersection at Frankford, Cottman and Ryan avenues will be redesigned in spring 2021 to make the high-crash intersection safer, among other possible redesigns.
By Logan Krum
Multiple city departments last week held a public meeting concerning traffic changes and improvements coming to Frankford Avenue.
The first phase focused on the intersection of Frankford, Cottman and Ryan avenues, which are tentatively planned to be made in about one year’s time. The second phase concerning safety improvements to be made along the Frankford Avenue corridor from Cheltenham Avenue to Rhawn Street is still early in development. Members of the public were able to visit King’s Highway Tavern and vote on which improvements they’d like to see implemented.
The new design at Frankford, Cottman and Ryan avenues includes making Ryan a one-way eastbound street, so that all traffic heading west along Cottman will continue along Cottman rather than some dividing onto Ryan. To get onto Ryan with the new plan, drivers will continue up Cottman until making a right onto Leon Street, then turning left onto Ryan.
Curbs will also be brought out among most corners of the intersection, including replacing the rightmost lane on Cottman Avenue westbound that currently leads to Ryan Avenue. The curb bump outs are designed to shorten time for pedestrian crossing and making turns tighter, requiring drivers to slow down.
The intersection has been the site of 42 crashes from 2012 to 2017, including 10 involving a pedestrian being struck by an automobile. The project’s goal is to increase safety while also improving foot traffic and enhancing the site as a gathering space for community events.
The new design is meant to increase safety along the corridor. Frankford Avenue is identified as one of the most dangerous streets in the city, with a high number of serious crashes that has fluctuated from 41 to 72 crashes per year from 2014 to 2018. Crashes involving pedestrians are more common than in other areas of the city and tend to be more severe than other types of crashes.
The sketch is just a preliminary plan, but reflects the changes that need to be made, said Nikhil Kharva, senior project engineer at HNTB Corporation.
The project will be implemented with funding from PennDOT’s Highway Safety Infrastructure Improvement programs.
The second phase of the project is potential transportation safety measures that could be included along the corridor from Cheltenham Avenue to Rhawn Street. These were ideas that were not official yet that the public could voice their opinions on by voting.
Ideas included new and improved bike lanes, new bus shelters, pedestrian refuge islands where the road is the widest, curb bump outs and raised medians.
Also presented were ideas for road diets, which removes traffic lanes to be used for other purposes. Road diets were proposed for Comly Street to Benner Street, and Bleigh Avenue to Rhawn Street. Options included dedicated specific lanes to be business access and transit lanes, parking-protected biking lanes, buffered bicycle lanes and/or parking and pedestrian improvements.
The study came as a result of a bill Councilman Bobby Henon introduced in 2017 that encouraged Frankford Avenue to be a more pedestrian-friendly commercial corridor. The first public meeting was held last May at the Mayfair Community Center, where community input about phase one of the project was accepted.
The projects are a collaboration among many departments and companies including Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, City Planning Commission, city Streets Department, PennDOT, HNTB Corporation and the city Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability.
The goal of the multimodal study is to improve safety and mobility for all roadway users, which includes drivers, pedestrians, transit riders and bicyclists.
Another public meeting will be hosted in May at a yet-to-be-decided location.