South Broad Street is a major arterial with numerous cultural landmarks. Therefore, Urban had to meet the needs of multiple stakeholders and avoid disruption to nearby subway steps and the surrounding streetscape.
Located a few blocks from City Hall and a major transportation hub, the intersections of South Broad Street with Chestnut and Walnut Streets have some of the heaviest foot and vehicle traffic in Philadelphia. The z-brick paver crosswalks at these intersections have deteriorated over the past 20 years, resulting in a potential tripping hazard. In response, the City of Philadelphia is upgrading the intersections to meet its “complete streets” standards. South Broad and Samson and Moravian have similar problems that needed addressing.
Urban provided design services for the project under an on-call contract with the city. Upgrades include redesigned intersections, ADA ramps, and pavement markings; drainage improvements; and the addition of textured crosswalks.
Challenging conditions on Broad Street, including underground utilities, historic bank vaults, adjacent buildings, and limited sidewalk width, demanded an innovative approach to ADA compliance. South Broad Street is a major arterial with numerous cultural landmarks. Therefore, we had to meet the needs of multiple stakeholders and avoid disruption to nearby subway steps and the surrounding streetscape.
Lowering the sidewalks to reduce their slopes wasn’t possible, due to the underground vaults. Instead, we prepared designs to raise the roadway to the height of the sidewalks, creating a “curbless street” in the vicinity of the intersections. Drainage inlets will be moved and our team carefully designed slopes to mitigate potential flooding during heavy rain.
To avoid future issues with pavers and alleviate maintenance concerns, it was decided to use a stamped, colored asphalt to designate the pedestrian crosswalk area. We worked with the City, PennDOT, the Avenue of the Arts and other stakeholders to reach consensus on materials, patterns, colors, and other crosswalk design elements. The curbless design of these intersections makes travel safer and easier in one of Philadelphia’s densest areas.