Making Boulevard travel safer

Mayor Jim Kenney

Mayor Jim Kenney last Friday released the city’s Roosevelt Boulevard, Route for Change Program report during a news conference in the parking lot of the Northeast Tower Center, 4640 Roosevelt Blvd.

The city is aiming to transform the Boulevard into a more safe, reliable and accessible corridor.

Kenney was joined by Yassmin Gramian, secretary of the Department of Transportation; SEPTA general manager Leslie Richards, Gramian’s predecessor at PennDOT; Mike Carroll, deputy managing director for transportation; and Latanya Byrd, a road safety advocate.

Byrd’s niece, Samara Banks, and three of Banks’ young sons were killed in 2013 when they were hit by a drag racer as they crossed the Boulevard near 2nd Street.

“One loss of life is too many. My family lost four,” said Byrd, co-founder of Families for Safe Streets.

Latanya Byrd

Kenney said the city’s Vision Zero initiative has a goal of zero traffic fatalities by 2030.

Overall, the report outlines improvements for the near term (2025) and guiding principles and design alternatives for the long term (2040).

In the first phase, SEPTA has unveiled 10 Boulevard Direct bus stations from the Frankford Transportation Center to Neshaminy Mall. Also, an automated speed camera enforcement effort has cameras at eight locations, and the city is recommending more.

Over the next five years, the 12-lane Boulevard will see improvements to local bus stops; curb extensions; a change in traffic signal cycle times; realignment of crosswalks and cross ramps; and a new phase of Boulevard Direct to connect the FTC to the Wissahickon Transportation Center.

In the long term, the Boulevard will see reduced posted speed limits, improved sidewalks and sidewalk connections, two-way bike lanes and dedicated transit lanes for buses.

From left: Mike Carroll, Yassmin Gramian, Leslie Richards, Latanya Byrd, Jim Kenney.

While details have not been worked out, here are a few areas that will be addressed in the short term:

• Whitaker, Adams and Summerdale avenues and Langdon Street

• Oxford Circle, Castor Avenue and Sanger Street

• Bustleton Avenue, Levick Street and Hellerman Street

To read the report, visit the city’s website.

Individuals interested in providing feedback or comments to the report may email VisionZeroPHL@phila.gov. ••