Our studies will identify priority projects that can be implemented in the next seven years, as well as long-range vision efforts that will carry through 2040.
A major initiative is underway to transform Roosevelt Boulevard, in Philadelphia, into a more inviting corridor that is safe, accessible, and reliable for all users. This effort, termed the Roosevelt Boulevard “Route for Change,” involves consultants, regional planning agencies, and community leaders working with the City of Philadelphia to identify short- and long-term strategies to improve the 14-mile-long corridor.
Urban is playing a key role in the "Route for Change" program. We are providing program management along with data collection, traffic engineering, and planning services associated with a range of studies and analyses. These studies will identify priority projects that can be implemented in the next seven years, as well as long-range vision efforts that will carry through 2040. We also performed land use, GIS mapping, transit facilities, safety analysis, and congestion analysis to identify the top 30 hotspots in the corridor which focus on the program’s four themes: safety, accessibility, reliability, and economic opportunity.
The corridor is composed of multiple land uses, including rowhouse neighborhoods, an airport, manufacturing areas, malls, hospitals, parks, schools, and recreation centers. It links the north and northeast neighborhoods of Philadelphia and Bucks County with the rest of the city. Unfortunately, it has become a victim of its own success. Rising traffic volumes, heavy rush hour congestion, and increasing vehicle speeds have made the corridor a hostile environment for pedestrians and cyclists from adjacent areas. In a five-year period, there were 3,500 crashes and nearly 50 fatalities, many of whom were pedestrians trying to cross the street.
Signalized pedestrian crossings are often a quarter of a mile apart, which contributes to incidents of pedestrians attempting to jay walk across the 12-lane highway. Even at signalized locations, pedestrians have to navigate long crossing distances through multiple traffic signal cycles.
Although there are several transit bus routes along the Boulevard, there is no single route that travels end-to-end, and frequent stops result in slow service. It often takes twice as long to travel on a bus, than in a private vehicle. An early action item from the program is a proposed bus rapid transit (BRT)-type express bus service along the Route 14 corridor with five stations.
A technically sound and multi-faceted strategic vision is critical to the success of both short- and long-term projects. Our role is to support the City and steering group with feedback on the broader land use, socioeconomic, environmental, and mobility implications of the alternatives which are generated and to engage the community with this effort. We are also weighing alternatives against the goals of the program’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA)-funded TIGER grant. The TIGER program aims to connect low-income populations with workforce training, health care, and employment, and other services through Ladders of Opportunity.