Safety measures delayed at problem intersection
Bumpout construction will begin in spring 2014 after design is complete in December
October 20, 2013, 4:42 pm · Updated October 20, 2013, 8:33 pm·
Christina Prudencio | DP
The Philadelphia Streets Department has delayed new safety measures at the problematic intersection at 38th and Spruce streets from early winter to next spring.
While the Streets Department said in May that bumpouts — segments of sidewalk protruding into the street designed to improve intersection safety — would be installed by the end of the year, construction is now set to begin in spring 2014, after the design phase is finished in December. The 38th and Spruce bumpouts are now part of a project to install bumpouts at six intersections across the city.
The intersection at 38th and Spruce streets has seen a total of 12 state-reportable crashes — an accident which results in someone being taken to the hospital or a car being towed away — since the beginning of 2013, of which The Daily Pennsylvanian reported on seven. The 12 crashes sent a total of six people to the hospital, and three of the 12 incidents involved pedestrians.
While only two of nine recommendations from a 2009 campus traffic safety report for the intersection have been either partially or fully implemented, Charles Denny, a traffic engineer at the Streets Department, said that the installation of the bumpouts would make some of the study’s other recommendations unnecessary. He explained that with the bumpouts already reducing the time needed to cross 38th Street, one such redundancy from the report would be implementing a traffic island.
Denny added that the Philadelphia Streets Department will “take another look at the recommendations” from the 2009 study, which was jointly commissioned by the Division of Public Safety and Facilities and Real Estate Services, to see if any of those suggestions could improve safety at the intersection.
Thus far, the only improvements implemented in line with the study are an increased traffic cycle length from 60 seconds to 90 seconds and new pedestrian countdown signals. The city has also installed a left-turn signal on the southbound side of 38th Street.
Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush applauded the move to install bumpouts at the intersection, as she felt they would improve safety at the intersection.
“There’s no one more anxious than Penn to get this done and we certainly do recognize the urgency and continue to speak to the city about it,” she said.
Staff writer Jill Castellano contributed reporting.