The installation of safety precautions at a dangerous intersection on Penn’s campus has been delayed for a second time in less than a year.
The Daily Pennsylvanian first reported in October 2013 that the construction of bumpouts set to be installed at the intersection between 38th and Spruce streets would be delayed until spring 2014, although they had originally been set to be installed by the end of last year. The Philadelphia Streets Department now says that installation of the bumpouts will begin over the summer.
Over the past several years, the intersection at 38th and Spruce streets has proven to be one of the most problematic on campus for both vehicles and pedestrians. From January 2009 to Oct. 14, 2013, the intersection was the site of 159 total crashes, 32 of which were state-reportable, meaning that the accidents caused someone to be sent to the hospital or a car to be towed away.
The bumpouts will lengthen the sidewalks at the intersection in order to “reduce crossing distance for pedestrians and offer them better visibility while crossing,” said Charles Denny, assistant chief traffic engineer for the Philadelphia Streets Department.
Currently, the Streets Department is preparing bidding documents to find a contractor for the project, said Streets Department spokesperson Keisha McCarty-Skelton. Denny said the documents will be ready in February.
When the Streets Department originally decided to undertake the bumpouts project last January, construction at 38th and Spruce streets was slated to be finished by the end of last year.
The bumpouts for 38th and Spruce streets have since become part of a Streets Department plan to develop safety measures for a total of five intersections throughout Philadelphia, Denny explained.
He added this was because the project shifted scope over the course of last year.
At first, Penn’s problematic intersection was one of three at which bumpouts were set to be installed. However, Denny said construction at the three intersections was delayed to add two more intersections to the project.
Though construction on the installations is expected to commence this summer, the Streets Department has not yet determined a specific date for the completion of the bumpout project.
Denny said the delay will probably benefit the efficiency of the installation of the bumpouts at the intersection, as foot traffic will likely decrease after the spring semester finishes.
“In the summer, with many students gone, there will be less interference through[out] the area where the work is being done,” Denny said.