Tidbit Tuesday — How does Philadelphia commute to work?

Every Tuesday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities (MOTU) posts a map or graphic that tells a story about transportation or utilities in the City of Brotherly Love.

ModeShare_2010_PlanningDistrict

This map illustrates the variety of ways in which Philadelphians commute to work and how this choice in transportation mode varies across the city.  How do you get to work?

MOTUnes Monday – Fly Away

Every Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) showcases a transportation related song.  This week, we’re going to spread our wings, get away and “Fly Away” with Lenny Kravitz.

Complete Streets Slow Traffic to Increase Activity

A comparison between a Conventional Auto-Centric Street and a Complete Street (Courtesy VTPI.org)

A comparison between a Conventional Auto-Centric Street and a Complete Street (Courtesy VTPI.org)

Last month, the City of Philadelphia passed a Complete Streets Bill, which mandates the use of the City’s Complete Streets handbook when developing property in order to design streets that will accommodate all transportation modes and increase safety. Complete Streets represent a shift from conventional street design in that accessibility is prioritized over mobility.  This means that the ability to reach destinations by multiple modes of transportation is given precedence over the ability to drive farther and faster.

A recent report by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute explores and identifies even more benefits of complete streets. In addition to greater safety and equity of transportation modes, Complete Streets can: improve the connectivity between streets, encourage active transportation mode shifts, reduce local air and noise pollution, promote smart growth land development, conserve individual energy use, improve neighborhood aesthetics, and increase activity of an area.  The report argues that complete streets and these benefits not only improve overall transportation, but also improve neighborhood livability.

Reducing traffic speeds increases roadway traffic capacity (Courtesy VTPI.org)

Reducing traffic speeds increases roadway traffic capacity (Courtesy VTPI.org)

A key component to achieving these goals is Complete Streets’ ability to lower the overall speed of traffic, which in turn increases roadway capacity.  This means that even though cars are moving slower, more vehicles can pass through an area.  Although this might seem counter intuitive, when vehicles are traveling at slower speeds, they also travel with less distance between each other, allowing for a greater total traffic.  In fact, the report shows that lowering vehicle speeds from 40mph to 25mph will increase total vehicles by approximately 400 vehicles per hour.  Additionally, a road analysis shows that a street which provides space for multiple modes of travel will increase the total number of people moving through an area simply because automobiles take up the most road space per person. Indeed, the analysis shows that automobiles take up approximately twice as much space as pedestrians and nearly five times as much space as buses on a per person basis.

Philadelphia has already taken the first step to creating more livable communities by passing the complete streets bill.  The Complete Streets Handbook uses a step-by-step process to help developers integrate Complete Streets into new projects.  First, the handbook is used to identify the street type that a particular project is located on, then the handbook describes the various street design interventions that will complete the street.  Finally, the Complete Streets checklist is incorporated into the review process, ensuring that development plans account for a project’s impact on the street and encourages safer and multi-modal transportation that meet the varying demands of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods.

Read the Full Report –

Evaluating Complete Streets: The Value of Designing Roads for Diverse Modes, Users and Activities

Check-Out Philadelphia’s Complete Streets Handbook

Parklets in 2012 and 2013

In 2012, 6 Parklets appeared across the City, from Fishtown to Logan.  The Parklets, small little roof decks in the parking lane,  appeared in front of coffee shops and libraries, pizza shops and take out joints.  Across the City neighbors used Parklets to host community movie nights, and just to sit and eat.  Parklets proved that by turning a parking space into a little park, we can transform our neighborhoods.

This map shows not only where parklets were located in 2012, but also what they were located next to.

This map shows not only where parklets were located in 2012, but also what they were located next to.

Parklets support neighborhoods in all sorts of way.  Studies in California have shown that they increase walking on commercial corridors.  Parklets don’t just add critical gathering space to neighborhoods, or promote active living, they are an economic development tool.  Parklets turn what is a parking space for just one person an hour, into a park for ten or twelve people an hour.  Businesses such as the Green Line Cafe and Honest Tom’s Taco Shop saw an increase of 20 – 40% with their parklets.

Parklets mean economic development

In 2013, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities expects at least 2 more parklets to debut in Manayunk and Chinatown.  That does not mean that only two more allowed to be built in Philadelphia. If your neighborhood is interested building and hosting a Parklet they should take a look at the Parklet Guidelines 2013.

For more information or to help conduct a pedestrian analysis of existing parklets contact Ariel Ben-Amos ( ariel.ben-amos@phila.gov).

MOTUnes Monday – Road to Nowhere

Every Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) showcases a transportation related song.  This week let’s take that ride with the Talking Heads’ “Road to Nowhere.”

MOTUnes Monday – Sailing

Every Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) showcases a transportation related song.  This week, let’s cross stormy waters and be free with Rod Stewart’s, “Sailing.”

MOTUnes Monday – Walk, Don’t Run

Every Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) showcases a transportation related song.  This week, we’ll be thinking about safety with the Ventures’ “Walk, Don’t Run.”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 62 other followers

%d bloggers like this: