Market Street and JFK Blvd Trial – The data is in

The City and Center City District (CCD) see an opportunity to transform Market Street and JFK west of City Hall into truly complete streets: streets that serve pedestrians, busses, cars, delivery vehicles and bikes well.

As CCD President and CEO Paul Levy recently noted,  “These streets were designed in a different era, for a different future that was focused on accommodating cars first and foremost. We’ve subsequently learned that the most vibrant and successful urban areas focus on accommodating a balanced use of all modes of transportation in an attractive and safe environment.” To realize a vision of a complete street would require removing an existing lane of traffic. So, for two weeks in late October, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities and the CCD completed a two week trial of lane reductions on Market Street and JFK Boulevard from 15th Street through 20th Street.  The trial removed the left-most lane of travel on these two roads reducing the four-lane road to three lanes.  The purpose of the trial was to see if the two streets could function well with one less lane.   If Center City became gridlocked, we would know that the idea of rethinking these two streets did not warrant further study.

Our traffic models suggest that the streets would function well and our data seemed to prove it.  Traffic volumes remained within the typical range for the two streets and traffic speeds changed by no more than three miles an hour.  We did notice some additional congestion on the north and south streets and we know that loading for residential properties along the streets is a concern.  For more information, view the report here. We are confident that both issues can be addressed with appropriate traffic engineering strategies.

So where do we go from here? No City capital funds are currently dedicated to the project, but the City and CCD will pursue state, federal and private grant opportunities to develop implement plans.  If and when funds are secured we will be back out in the community to help develop the details of a project that would make for a better street for everyone who uses it.

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