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Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan for Philadelphia’s South of South Neighborhood Prepared for CPLN 654: Multimodal Transportation Planning DANIEL WOLF • UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA • MARCH 1, 2013

Table of Contents Introductionı


Site Context Past Studies and Plans

Existing Conditionsı


Shifting Travel Trends Bicycle Network Bicycle Activity Pedestrian Network Pedestrian Activity



Calm Traffic Encourage Biking Provide More Local Destinations Install Bus Shelters at Strategic Locations



Cost Estimates of Recommendations Prioritization of Improvements

Works Citedı

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Site Context South of South, also known as Graduate Hospital, Southwest Center City, and SoSo, is a neighborhood of Philadelphia that lies just south of Center City’s southern edge at South Street. Its boundaries stretch from Broad Street on the east to the Schuykill River on the west and from Washington Avenue on the south to South Street on the north. For the purposes of this study, however, Grays Ferry Avenue will serve as the western boundary. Much of the neighborhood’s appeal is the combination of its mellow residential character with its close proximity to the employment, education, and entertainment centers in Center City and University City. Neighborhood serving businesses are heavily clustered along South Street, as well as some on Christian Street and 22nd Street, and are scattered sparsely throughout the rest of the neighborhood.

PARKS AND RECREATION As displayed on the map on the following page, South of South has three

Catharine Park, recently developed by SOSNA

small parks, as well as the larger Marian Anderson Recreation Center, a YMCA, and two landscaped, traffic-restricted streets: St. Albans Square and Madison Square. In addition, Chew Playground lies just south of the


neighborhood’s southern border, Washington Street. One of the small parks

Three schools serve the neighborhood: C. A. Arthur Elementary School, E.

was built by the South of South Neighborhood Association (SOSNA) in late

M. Stanton Elementary School, and Universal Institute Charter School, which

2012 and is pictured at right.

accepts students from grades K-8.


Parks and landmarks in and around South of South

MAJOR EMPLOYERS Among South of South’s largest employers is Penn Medicine at Rittenhouse, formerly Graduate Hospital, from which the neighborhood got one of its

and technically outside of the neighborhood boundary. Washington Avenue is home to a variety of light industrial businesses, including suppliers of construction materials.

names. This hospital is located on South Street, partially north of the street


RECENT INVESTMENT AND DEVELOPMENT Traditional two- to three- story rowhomes comprise most of the neighborhood’s building stock; however, the neighborhood has been experiencing a significant amount of new construction in the past decade. As of 2010, a full 8.4% of the neighborhood’s housing units were built after 2005, or 533 units out of 6,376 total units.1

New coffee shop at 22nd and Catharine St.

A key driver of this change appears to be the neighborhood’s rising incomes. Median household income in the neighborhood’s three census tracts – 13, 14, and 19 (displayed in the Existing Conditions chapter) – each rose significantly. Median household income of tract 13 rose by 79% since 2000 to $56,503 in 2010; tract 14 by rose 43% to $49,460; and tract 19 rose by 27% Construction of new apartment building

to $35,551.2

Accompanying this new investment has been the opening of new businesses, including bars, restaurants, cafes, convenience stores, and a frozen yogurt shop.


ACS 2006-2010, census tracts 13, 14, and 19


ACS 2006-2010; Census 2000




Past Studies and Plans

background), bike boxes, curb extensions at intersections, and street trees.

Several recent studies and plans of South of South have been conducted in

This plan also reviewed SOSNA’s Better Blocks Philly project, a

the past several years, and the current plan explores further many of the

demonstration project conducted in South of South in October 2011, during

recommendations of these plans.

which temporary traffic calming devices were installed, intended to educate


South of South Neighborhood Association’s Better Blocks project: were accompanied by lectures and exhibits on pedestrian safety. “Before”


as p


the community about the benefits of traffic calming. The street interventions

Commissioned by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC), this plan provided recommendations for making South of South more walkable, promoting five elements that contribute to a walkable environment: convenience, safety, vibrancy, comfort, and sustainability. Through surveys, focus groups, field observations, and by collecting bicycle and pedestrian counts, the South of South Walkability Plan clearly outlines many of the key strengths and deficiencies of the neighborhood’s walkability, which served as a baseline for the current plan.

PHILADELPHIA PEDESTRIAN AND BICYCLE PLAN (APRIL 2012) Also commissioned by PCPC, this plan serves as Philadelphia’s first pedestrian plan, and updates the City’s Bicycle Network Plan, completed in 2000. The plan’s recommended city bicycle network serves as a starting point for the current plan’s proposed bicycle network in South of South.

South of South Neighborhood Association’s Better Blocks project: A mid-block curb extension, one of several temporary traffic-calming “During” treatments installed as part of the Better Blocks Philly demonstration


project in 2011. Source: Community Design Collaborative (2012)

Commissioned by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, this plan analyzes three streets in Philadelphia: S. 10th, 13th, and 15th streets, of which S. 15th Street falls in the current plan’s study area. The Safe Streets, Healthy Neighborhoods plan provides conceptual designs to be implemented in the three mentioned streets, in order to make them “bicycle-friendly streets,” including: shared lane markings (“sharrows”), slow zones, speed humps, bicycle priority signage, “super sharrows” (sharrow on green lane

5 South of South Neighborhood Association’s Better Blocks project:

South of South Neighborhood Association’s Better Blocks project: “During”

SUSTAINABLE NEIGHBORHOOD ASSESSMENT (JUNE 2012) This sustainability assessment of South of South, conducted by Global Green USA, identifies areas where policy and planning changes can contribute to the neighborhood’s sustainability. In addition to some recommendations which overlap with previously mentioned plans, this plan’s recommendations include: maintaining commercial storefronts and commercial zoning to make walking and biking more feasible means of accomplishing daily tasks, providing additional smaller scale open space, pursuing funding to increase the number of bus shelters in the neighborhood,

South of South Neighborhood Association’s Better Blocks project: Temporary chicanes, part of the Better Blocks Philly project. Source: “After”

and limiting the use of garages on front facades which result in larger curb cuts and disrupt the pedestrian environment.

Community Design Collaborative (2012)


Existing Conditions Analysis of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Network BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN PLAN FOR PHILADELPHIA’S SOUTH OF SOUTH NEIGHBORHOOD

Shifting Travel Trends The transportation habits of South of South residents have changed significantly between 2000 and 2010. Analysis was conducted using the census tracts pictured below. It should be noted that roughly half of census tract 13 extends beyond the study area, and it includes an area that is less connected to the street grid characteristic of South of South.

driving and transit use coupled with a rise in biking and walking. Tract 19 showed the largest increase in biking, going from 4% of total work trips in 2000 to 18% in 2010, while tract 13 showed the largest increase in walking, going from 13% in 2000 to 27% in 2010. These increasing demands on the bicycle and pedestrian networks surely merit greater attention to the needs of pedestrians and cyclists and suggest greater investment in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure.

Census Tract 13: Mode Share for Journey to Work 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%







Source: Census 2000 and ACS 2006-2010 Census Tracts in South of South

While driving is the most common transportation mode for South of South residents, a significant trend throughout all three census tracts is a decline in


Census Tract 14: Mode Share for Journey to Work 40%

the neighborhood. Several of these routes are along major traffic corridors, with bicycle infrastructure and signage that alert drivers to the presence of cyclists. However, as it currently exists, the bicycle network in South of South


requires most cyclists to ride largely on streets without bicycle treatments.

20% 10% 0%







22nd Street, pictured below, has a single northbound vehicle lane and a bike lane on the right side, with parking on both sides of the street. As is the case with most bike lane lanes directly adjacent to parking, car doors open into the bike lane, threatening to “door� cyclists. Otherwise, however, this bicycle

Source: Census 2000 and ACS 2006-2010

route feels rather safe to ride. The relatively narrow width of the travel lane limits the speed of vehicles, making bicycle travel safer and more

Census Tract 19: Mode Share for Journey to Work


40% 30% 20% 10% 0%







Source: Census 2000 and ACS 2006-2010 22nd Street bike lane

Bicycle Network Residents of South of South currently have a few options for getting around the neighborhood and accessing other areas of the city by bicycle, as shown in the existing bicycle network map on the following page. The bike lane on 22nd Street provides a northbound route through the western portion of the neighborhood, and four additional routes run along or near the periphery of

SOUTH STREET BIKE LANE The South Street bike lane provides an eastbound gateway into the northwestern portion of the neighborhood, spanning from University City across the South Street bridge, and ending shortly after reaching the neighborhood, at 21st Street. An extended eastward route continues on Pine


Existing bicycle network


Street four blocks north, accessible via the 22nd Street bike lane.

scene, and very unwelcoming to cyclists.

Additionally, Lombard Street connects the 22nd street bike lane to the twoway section of South Street, providing a westward connection across the South Street bridge into University City.

End of the South Street bike lane, approaching 21st Street

Chaotic Washington Avenue: poorly defined lanes, double parking, and curb cuts disrupt the security of the bike lane

WASHINGTON AVENUE BIKE LANE Washington Ave is a wide two-way street with bike lanes in both directions, providing access along the southern border of the neighborhood. The majority of the street consists of two vehicle lanes in each direction with an alternating left turn lane, bounded by a bike lane and parking on each side.

15TH STREET SHARROW A shared lane marking, or “sharrow,” extends along 15th Street, creating a southbound route through the eastern portion of South of South. Since there isn’t enough cartway width to add a bike lane while maintaining existing

The tremendous width of Washington Avenue likens it to a highway and cars

parking on both sides of the street, a sharrow was used to encourage cyclists

frequently drive at very high speeds. The bike lanes, as well as the vehicle

to ride in the center of the lane and to signal to drivers that this is a bicycle

lanes, are poorly maintained and generally are barely visible to passing drivers. Possibly as a result of the lack of defined space for each lane, cars often double park, blocking the bike lane. Finally, several curb cuts

priority route. Cyclists are encouraged to ride in the center of the lane on streets such as this one because otherwise drivers would be tempted to pass a cyclist, often leaving the cyclist with an uncomfortably, and sometimes

accompany front facade garages, pushing cars across the bike lane and into traffic at unexpected intervals. Overall, Washington Avenue is a chaotic


dangerously, narrow riding space. This sharrow configuration allows the cyclist to decide when to allow the driver to pass, such as during a gap in the line of parked cars.

GRAYS FERRY AVENUE SHARROW Similar to the sharrow on 15th Street, Grays Ferry Avenue is marked with a sharrow roughly from 24th Street to Washington Avenue. This bidirectional street provides a route along the western boundary of the defined study area. South of Washington Avenue, the sharrows on Grays Ferry Avenue shift to bike lanes.

Sharrow on 15th Street


Bicycle Activity In 2007, bicycle and pedestrian counts were collected at 27 locations throughout the neighborhood for the South of South Walkability Plan. The counts were collected during three one-hour long windows: from 8:00am to 9:00am, from 2:30pm to 3:30pm, and from 3:30pm to 4:30pm. The direction of movement and number of cyclists and pedestrians were recorded. Comparing it to the existing bicycle network, this data can be used to determine where demand for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure is not met. It should be noted that Montrose Street, not labeled on the basemap, is a narrow westbound street, between Catharine and Christian streets. Cyclists were not counted in particularly high volumes on this street. As of the collection of this data, the South Street bike lane did not yet exist.

8:00AM - 9:00AM During this interval, a total of 526 cyclists were counted. In the northbound direction, the highest volumes of cyclists recorded were on 16th at South (44) and 16th at Catharine (30). Next were 18th at Fitzwater (22) and 18th at Catharine (19). Southbound, the highest volumes were recorded on 19th at South (22) and on 15th at Catharine (9). Eastbound, four locations on South Street showed the highest volumes: South at 21st (31), South at Grays Ferry (25), South at 19th (20), and South at 16th (18). Westbound, five locations showed the highest volumes: Washington at 18th (17), Catharine at 17th (13), Fitzwater at 18th (11), Catharine at 15th (10), and Washington at 20th

Cyclists: 8:00am - 9:00am South & Grays Ferry South & 22nd South & 21st South & 19th South & 16th Grays Ferry & Christian Grays Ferry & Bainbridge Grays Ferry & Washington Washington & 20th Washington & 18th Montrose & 18th Montrose & 17th Montrose & 16th Christian & 23rd Christian & 22nd Christian & 21st Christian & 19th Christian & 17th Fitzwater & 18th Fitzwater & 17th Catharine & 20th Catharine & 18th Catharine & 17th Catharine & 16th Catharine & 15th Webster & 21st Webster & 20th 0





(10). In summary, the highest demand routes during the morning period were,

Northbound Eastbound

Southbound Westbound

from highest to lowest, east on South, north on 16th and on 18th, south on 19th, and west on Washington and on Catharine. Two of these high demand

21st Street, high volumes were still recorded east of 21st Street at 19th

routes are served by bicycle facilities, but only partially: South Street and

Street and 16th Street. Despite Washington Avenue’s high westward

Washington Avenue. Although South Street’s bike lane ends when it reaches

volumes, the bike lane is mostly invisible and the route is not very safe.


2:30PM - 3:30PM During this interval, 57 fewer cyclists were recorded as compared to the morning hour, with a total of 469 cyclists. The highest demand route in the northbound direction was 16th at South (23), followed by 16th at Catharine (10). Southbound, 17th Street showed the highest volume, with 12 cyclists at Montrose, 10 at Christian, and 8 at Catharine. 19th at South also showed a high volume of cyclists (19). Eastbound, the highest volumes were seen on Bainbridge at Grays Ferry (44). South Street also showed high volumes of cyclists at Grays Ferry (11), 21st (14), and 19th (9), and 16th (14). There was significantly less westbound activity during this hour, with Washington at 18th (11) and at 20th (6) and Fitzwater at 18th (8) showing the highest volumes. Overall, the highest demand routes during the mid-afternoon period were, from highest to lowest, eastbound on Bainbridge (at Grays Ferry) and on South Street, southbound on 17th Street, northbound on 16th Street, and southbound on 19th Street.

Cyclists: 2:30pm - 3:30pm South & Grays Ferry South & 22nd South & 21st South & 19th South & 16th Grays Ferry & Christian Grays Ferry & Bainbridge Grays Ferry & Washington Washington & 20th Washington & 18th Montrose & 18th Montrose & 17th Montrose & 16th Christian & 23rd Christian & 22nd Christian & 21st Christian & 19th Christian & 17th Fitzwater & 18th Fitzwater & 17th Catharine & 20th Catharine & 18th Catharine & 17th Catharine & 16th Catharine & 15th Webster & 21st Webster & 20th 0

Northbound Eastbound





Southbound Westbound


3:30PM - 4:30PM During this interval, 516 cyclists were recorded, 47 more than between 2:30pm - 3:30pm and 10 fewer than between 8:00am - 9:00am. The highest demand northbound route was 16th Street at Catharine (14), at South (12), and at Montrose (9). Southbound, 17th Street showed the highest volumes, with 14 cyclists at Catharine, 13 at Montrose, and 10 at Christian. 21st at South also showed 20 southbound cyclists. Eastbound, South Street was the highest demand route, with 15 cyclists at Grays Ferry, 25 at 21st, 16 at 19th, and 19 at 16th. Washington Avenue at 18th Street also showed 17 eastbound cyclists. Westbound, Washington Avenue at 18th Street showed 19 cyclists. Catharine Street also showed a moderate number of cyclists, with 8 at 18th and 8 at 16th. In summary, the high demand routes in the late afternoon hour were, in order from highest to lowest, eastbound South, southbound on 17th, northbound on 16th, southbound at 21st, and eastbound and westbound on Washington.

Cyclists: 3:30pm - 4:30pm South & Grays Ferry South & 22nd South & 21st South & 19th South & 16th Grays Ferry & Christian Grays Ferry & Bainbridge Grays Ferry & Washington Washington & 20th Washington & 18th Montrose & 18th Montrose & 17th Montrose & 16th Christian & 23rd Christian & 22nd Christian & 21st Christian & 19th Christian & 17th Fitzwater & 18th Fitzwater & 17th Catharine & 20th Catharine & 18th Catharine & 17th Catharine & 16th Catharine & 15th Webster & 21st Webster & 20th 0

Northbound Eastbound





Southbound Westbound


Pedestrian Network South of South is comprised of a well-connected street grid. Many of the streets extend throughout the entire neighborhood, and these tend to be slightly wider, sometimes bidirectional streets, such as Christian Street, pictured below.

Pemberton Street: vehicle lane is narrow enough to slow traffic, causing pedestrians to walk in the street instead of the sidewalk’s narrow walking zone. Christian Street: a bidirectional street with parking on both sides

Pedestrian amenities, such as pedestrian scaled lighting, crosswalks, and tree plantings, vary in prevalence and quality from street to street. Pedestrian

Many of the streets, like Pemberton Street pictured to the right, do not extend

scaled lighting exists on South Street, for instance. Many intersection

through the entire neighborhood, and are narrower, designed primarily for

crosswalks have not upgraded to the contemporary best practice zebra stripe

local traffic. The South of South Walkability Plan delineates a hierarchy of

design or are otherwise poorly maintained.

street types that exist in the neighborhood: industrial/commercial (e.g., Washington Avenue), mixed-use (e.g., South Street, Christian Street, Grays Ferry Avenue, and 22nd Street), grid (all others that extend through the full length or width of the neighborhood), and urban lane (narrower streets and lanes).

WASHINGTON AVENUE As described in the Bicycle Network section, this broad street is chaotic and unfriendly to cyclists and pedestrians. In addition, the width of the street makes crossings difficult. Curb extensions exist at most intersections, shortening this distance slightly, but they are too small to have significant


impact. The uncomfortable experience of crossing Washington Avenue

aesthetic appeal and allows cars to perceive the street as a highway.

creates a psychological and physical barrier between South of South and the Point Breeze neighborhood, south of Washington Avenue. Point Breeze is a lower income neighborhood with a higher crime rate than South of South and which hasn’t significantly benefited from the recent investment that South of South has experienced.

CHRISTIAN STREET Christian Street lies roughly at the center of the neighborhood and encompasses several landmarks, including beautiful historic churches, as well as the YMCA and the E. M. Stanton Elementary School. It is also the neighborhood’s widest street that does not run along the periphery. For these reasons, it serves as the neighborhood’s central street. Despite this status, however, lane and crosswalk striping is poorly maintained. The double yellow line in the center of the street which separates the two directions of travel is barely visible, giving drivers a feeling of having more lane width and thus drive faster.

Washington Avenue: an aesthetically unappealing and wide street that is unpleasant to cross, creating a barrier between the neighborhoods to the north and south

Washington Avenue’s large industrial uses provide minimal visual interest and are generally not well integrated into the rowhouse neighborhoods to the north and south. There are very few retail establishments, so individual

The double yellow line on Christian Street is no longer visible

pedestrians have little reason to choose Washington Avenue as a destination. Finally, a lack of trees along the street further reduces the


Finally, many of the historic commercial storefronts on Christian Street, as well as at other locations throughout the neighborhood, have been converted to residences. This trend is at odds with the decline in car use and rise in incomes in the neighborhood, which suggest an expanding market for local retail establishments within walking distance of residences. Perhaps new businesses are starting to meet this demand, particularly those on South Street, such as a recently opened CVS Pharmacy and several new restaurants. However, there is likely still a need for businesses serving the southern portions of the neighborhood which are farther away from the activity on South Street. Preserving and expanding commercial opportunities on Christian Street and other historically mixed-use streets, such as 22nd Street, would encourage more walking and biking throughout the neighborhood.

Historic commercial storefronts on Christian Street are slowly being converted to residences, eroding its mixed-use character


Pedestrian Activity To determine areas of high demand for pedestrian amenities, the pedestrian counts from the South of South Walkability Plan will now be analyzed. Northbound and southbound counts will be grouped, as well as eastbound and westbound counts, because each direction in either of the pairings should yield the same types of recommendations. Overall, walking was more evenly distributed throughout the neighborhood than biking, despite a few notable areas of high activity. For reference, below is a map of the neighborhood with landmarks and schools.


8:00AM - 9:00AM

Pedestrians: 8:00am - 9:00am

During morning hour, a total of 2,833 pedestrians were counted. Northbound and southbound, the highest demand routes were crossing South Street, at 16th (122), at 21st (119), at 19th (95), at 22nd (87), and at Grays Ferry (66). Additionally, 113 pedestrians crossed Catharine at 15th, and 80 crossed Christian at 22nd. Eastbound and westbound, the same five locations on South Street showed high volumes: 144 crossing Grays Ferry, 138 crossing 22nd, 129 crossing 21st, 98 crossing 16th, and 68 crossing 19th. Catharine at 15th showed a high volume again (87), and a slightly higher number of pedestrians were seen crossing 21st at Christian (68) than 22nd at Christian (61). The high volumes along and crossing South Street during this hour can be attributed to shopping activity on South Street and walking to jobs in City City. The crossings at Catharine and 15th are very close to the Universal Institute Charter School and Uncle David’s Playground, and likely stem from those two locations.

South & Grays Ferry South & 22nd South & 21st South & 19th South & 16th Grays Ferry & Christian Grays Ferry & Bainbridge Grays Ferry & Washington Washington & 20th Washington & 18th Montrose & 18th Montrose & 17th Montrose & 16th Christian & 23rd Christian & 22nd Christian & 21st Christian & 19th Christian & 17th Fitzwater & 18th Fitzwater & 17th Catharine & 20th Catharine & 18th Catharine & 17th Catharine & 16th Catharine & 15th Webster & 21st Webster & 20th 0






Northbound + Southbound Eastbound + Westbound

Pedestrian crossing South Street near Penn Medicine at Rittenhouse, at 19th Street


2:30PM - 3:30PM

Pedestrians: 2:30pm - 3:30pm

During the mid-afternoon hour, a very similar pattern emerges. A total of 2,857 pedestrians were counted. Walking along and across South Street remained high. A much higher volume of pedestrians were seen walking northbound or southbound across 15th at Catharine (332) and eastbound or westbound across the intersection (152). During this hour, 105 pedestrians were seen crossing Montrose (between Catharine and Carpenter) at 17th. The majority of these pedestrians (84) were walking north. The higher volume at Catharine and 15th likely stemmed from walking home from either the Universal Institute Charter School or Uncle David’s Playground and, to a lesser extent, from walking between the two locations. The high volume going north on 17th at Montrose may have been caused by students and their parents walking from the E. M. Stanton Elementary School to the Marian Anderson Recreation Center.

South & Grays Ferry South & 22nd South & 21st South & 19th South & 16th Grays Ferry & Christian Grays Ferry & Bainbridge Grays Ferry & Washington Washington & 20th Washington & 18th Montrose & 18th Montrose & 17th Montrose & 16th Christian & 23rd Christian & 22nd Christian & 21st Christian & 19th Christian & 17th Fitzwater & 18th Fitzwater & 17th Catharine & 20th Catharine & 18th Catharine & 17th Catharine & 16th Catharine & 15th Webster & 21st Webster & 20th 0






Northbound + Southbound Eastbound + Westbound

School zone signage warns drivers to slow down near the Universal Institute Charter School


3:30PM - 4:30PM During the late afternoon hour, activity was more evenly distributed than either of the other two intervals. However, similar patterns emerged. A high volume of pedestrians were counted along and across South Street. The intersection of Catharine and 15th still showed a high volume of pedestrians, although lower than during the other two intervals: 57 northbound or southbound, and 81 eastbound or westbound. Additionally, 68 pedestrians were seen along Christian Street crossing at 23rd Street and another 68 at crossing at 17th Street. Some of the pedestrians who were seen crossing 17th Street may have been walking between the E. M. Stanton Elementary School and the YMCA.

Pedestrians: 3:30pm - 4:30pm South & Grays Ferry South & 22nd South & 21st South & 19th South & 16th Grays Ferry & Christian Grays Ferry & Bainbridge Grays Ferry & Washington Washington & 20th Washington & 18th Montrose & 18th Montrose & 17th Montrose & 16th Christian & 23rd Christian & 22nd Christian & 21st Christian & 19th Christian & 17th Fitzwater & 18th Fitzwater & 17th Catharine & 20th Catharine & 18th Catharine & 17th Catharine & 16th Catharine & 15th Webster & 21st Webster & 20th 0






Northbound + Southbound Eastbound + Westbound

YMCA on Christian Street, between 17th Street and 18th Street


BUS SHELTERS Despite the high number of bus routes that frequent South of South, the neighborhood, like much of Philadelphia, is lacking in bus shelters. A few bus shelters exist along the periphery of the neighborhood, such as on South Street and Broad Street, but the interior of the neighborhood is particularly in need of bus shelters. At most bus stops, bus riders must wait at street corners and brave the elements. While both of these factors most likely haven’t changed in the last decade, they certainly don’t help reverse the neighborhood’s trend of declining transit use.

Buses serving South of South. Philadelphia City Planning Commission 2005

As shown in the map below, the bus running along 20th Street and 19th Street (route 17) experiences the highest number of boardings and alightings out of any of the routes that bisect the neighborhood. This route also has no bus shelters within the neighborhood.

Bus riders waiting for bus route 17 at 20th Street and South Street

At the top right is a map of the bus routes serving South of South. Note that

Total bus boardings and alightings. Source: SEPTA, Spring 2012

the majority of the routes run north and south through neighborhood.



Calm Traffic Measures to slow traffic would make travel safer and more comfortable for cyclists and pedestrians. Based on the findings from the pedestrian counts which indicate areas of high pedestrian demand, and based on the locations of schools, parks, and other landmarks, the following areas are most in need of traffic calming:

In addition to the areas mentioned above, Christian Street and Washington Avenue are two corridors which deserve special attention: Christian Street for its role as a central neighborhood corridor, and Washington Avenue, for its distinct design issues.

WASHINGTON AVENUE As discussed in the Existing Conditions chapter, Washington Avenue’s two

• South Street, facilitating connections along the street as well as across the street. • Christian Street, particularly from 15th Street to 18th Street, facilitating

major weaknesses are its chaotic nature and its unattractiveness. Installing larger curb extensions in combination with pedestrian refuge islands in the center of the street would go a long way in both reducing crossing distances

connections between the YMCA and the E. M. Stanton School, as well

and slowing traffic. An alternative to the pedestrian refuge island, as

as the landmarks on nearby Catharine Street (Uncle David’s

recommended by The South of South Walkability Plan, would be removing

Playground and the Universal Institute Charter School)

one of the five vehicle lanes, which would also narrow the crossing distance and free up space for back-in angle parking. This orientation of parking would

• Catharine Street, particularly from Broad Street to 18th Street, facilitating connections between the Universal Institute Charter School,

increase total parking capacity by about 30%, which may reduce the need for double parking. However, should that option fail to offer enough parking

Uncle David’s Playground, and the Marian Anderson Recreation

capacity to reduce double parking, greater parking enforcement on


Washington Avenue would be needed to prevent vehicles from parking in the

Treatments on these streets may include: additional street trees, pedestrian scaled lighting, and other street furniture, school zone signage, chicanes, curb extensions, raised intersections, decorative crosswalks, pedestrian countdown signals, clearly marked lane striping, etc.

bike lane. Due to the extensive width of Washington Avenue, even more design options are possible. The bike lanes could be buffered from parking and from traffic with a few feet of striping on either side of the bike lane. This option should most likely be combined with a reduction in vehicle lanes. Additional treatments could include decorative crosswalks, to alert drivers to


Conceptual Design the presence of pedestrians, and pedestrian countdown signals, to allow pedestrians to anticipate the timing of the crossing phase. A more comprehensive zoning and economic development plan would be needed to guide the future direction of Washington Avenue’s built form, but a more short term, albeit costly, method of beautifying the street would be adding street

Design Discussion: Building Bicycle-Friendly Streets

As discussed in the Existing Conditions chapter, the double yellow line separating travel lanes on Christian Street is severely in need repainting. In combination with a stripe separating the driving lanes from the parking lanes (as shown below, with sharrows), vehicles would travel in more tightly defined lanes, which would slow speeds.

trees, which would also further slow traffic. In all the above scenarios, it is important that all lane striping is maintained to reduce the free-for-all nature of the street, to make bicycle lanes more visible to moving and parked vehicles, and to increase the comfort and confidence of cyclists. A significant benefit to addressing the safety of pedestrians and cyclists on Washington Avenue is the economic development that these interventions could spur. Making the street into less of a barrier, would allow Point Breeze residents to more easily access the amenities in South of South, and vice versa. This would attract more people to both neighborhoods, which would likely result in reduced housing vacancy and expand retail market demand. In the long term, Washington Avenue could become a destination, a meeting

Clearly marked sharrows, double yellow line, and parking lane striping on

point for both neighborhoods. This perspective can also apply to the short

a street similar to Christian Street. Source: Transit Miami

term, however; for instance, facilitating safer and more comfortable crossings at 18th Street and at 19th Street would allow South of South residents to better access Chew Playground, which encompasses more open space than any of the parks in South of South.

In addition to clearer lane markings, curb extensions could be installed at intersections with high pedestrian demand along Christian Street, such as

Sharrow markings

between 15th Street and 18th Street as mentioned at the beginning of this chapter. These curb extensions would increase pedestrian visibility to drivers,


reduce driving speeds while turning, and shorten pedestrian crossing

Due to Christian Street’s status as the neighborhood’s central corridor, it is

distances. The high concentration of schools and parks in the area suggests

essential that it functions as a safe and inviting street. Two types of

that much of the pedestrian activity in this area is generated by children, and

interventions would most help achieve this: clear lane striping and curb extensions at key intersections.

these curb extensions would allow children to more easily walk through the neighborhood, whether on their own or while under supervision.

A “Slow Zone”

One objective of the BPS is to make a street where cyclists a 24

sets the speed. Discussions with the area residents yielded

Encourage Biking IMPLEMENT CITY’S RECOMMENDED BICYCLE NETWORK As discussed in the Existing Conditions chapter, the rate of biking has risen significantly in the neighborhood. Thus, there is both a greater need to create a safe bicycle network to protect these cyclists, as well as a high demand for this type of network. The bicycle network for South of South should connect to the greater vision for Philadelphia’s future bicycle network. For this reason, the network recommended in the Philadelphia Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan should be a starting point. This includes adding sharrows along Christian Street in both directions, adding a northbound sharrow route on 18th Street, adding a southbound sharrow route on 21st Street, adding a northbound sharrow on

Philadelphia’s recommended bicycle network. Source: Philadelphia City Planning Commission (2012)

25th Street, and creating more connections between the South Street bike lane, the Lombard Street bike lane, the 22nd Street bike lane, and the Grays Ferry Avenue sharrow route.

ADD SHARROWS TO EXTEND THE BICYCLE NETWORK Based on the analysis of high demand bicycle routes in the Existing

The new southbound route on 21st Street would pair with the existing

Conditions chapter, the neighborhood’s primary missing link to the City’s

northbound 22nd Street. The new sharrow route along Christian Street would

recommended bicycle network is South Street. Despite the South Street bike

create a new eastbound and westbound route through the center of the

lane ending at 21st Street, and despite signage leading cyclists from South

neighborhood, allowing cyclists to avoid Washington Street, which would

Street to the nearby eastbound bike lane on Pine Street via 22nd Street,

take significant effort to make fully safe for cyclists. Finally, the new

many cyclists still wish to use South Street. This may be because Pine Street

northbound 18th Street route would serve the eastern portion of the

is perceived as too far north for trips leading to destinations along or south of

neighborhood, which currently lacks access to a northbound route.

South Street. Whatever the reason, the high level of biking activity along the section of South Street with no bicycle infrastructure merits attention. Three solutions would provide a safer route. First, the right lane could be cleared for a bike lane, extending the configuration of the bike lane that currently ends at 21st Street. Second, a sharrow could be used in the center of the right travel lane. Third, signage could direct cyclists to a parallel route along Bainbridge Street, which lies only one full block south of South Street, where a sharrow or bike lane could be used (the bike lane would require removal of parking).


Two other high demand routes were southbound on 19th Street and on 17th Street, which both showed higher bicycle volumes than 21st Street, where a sharrow route is recommended. For this reason, the City should consider revising its recommended network to shift the southbound 21st Street route to one of these higher demand routes. However, depending on demand levels elsewhere in the larger network, a potential tradeoff may arise between providing a consistent and legible network with bicycle routes continuing along the same street or shifting the routes along streets depending on local demand or context. This issue should be explored further when conducting future analysis of the neighborhood and surrounding areas. An existing street is shown at the top right, which resembles many of the streets in South of South being considered for sharrow routes, and shown

Project number


Project Name Safe Corridors for Healthy Neighborhoods: Conceptual Design for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure


April 27, 2012



below it is a design for sharrows with a green paint background along with

Drawing Title

The Community Design Collaborative's products are intended to provide visual concepts and to assist in project design and planning. All drawings are limited to conceptual design and are neither intended nor may be used for construction. Neither the Community Design Collaborative nor the project volunteers assume responsibility or liability for the technical accuracy of drawings or for any unauthorized use.

greened curb extensions, as well as signage indicating that cyclists can use the full lane. This design illustrates several of the benefits of sharrows. First, in encourages a cyclist (or two) to take the center of the lane, instead of feeling pressured to ride on the side of the lane to allow vehicles to pass through, which sometimes wedges cyclists dangerously between parked cars and the moving vehicle. Second, the cyclist sets the lane speed when taking the full lane, slowing traffic to the benefit of cyclists and pedestrians. Third, sharrows don’t interfere with the supply of parking, whereas bike lanes often Safe Streets, Healthy Neighborhoods

Conceptual Design

South Philadelphia Project

require the removal of parking. This makes sharrows an easier sell to 2011-20 Design Discussion: Building communities who cling to their limited parking. Bicycle-Friendly Streets

Sharrow with signage and greened curb extension, before and after. Project Name Project number

Safe Corridors for Healthy Neighborhoods: Conceptual Design for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure



The Community Design Collaborative's products are intended to provide visual concepts and to assist in project design and planning. All drawings are limited to conceptual design and are neither intended nor may be used for construction. Neither the Community Design Collaborative nor the project volunteers assume responsibility or liability for the technical accuracy of drawings or for any unauthorized use.

Source: Community Design Collaborative (2012)

April 27, 2012



Drawing Title

Sign it for Full Lane Streets designated as Bicycle Priority or Bike-Friendly Streets have new rules that should be explained. Else-

Provide More Local Destinations

where, drivers may assume that the travel way is primarily meant to support the conveyance of motorized vehicles

and, except at intersection crosswalks, cars command the “right of way”. Signs explain that cyclists may occupy the travel lane and set the speed. The signage is necessary


to complement the effectiveness of the pavement graphics and traffic calming elements. Signage to go with BPS

Recommendation: Signs posted every 200 feet or so, 2 per

discussed, the trend of converting formerly commercial storefronts to block – so as to be conspicuous butAs not intrusive. Signage accompanying sharrows. Source: Community Design residences is eroding the mixed-use nature of the neighborhood. In order to Note that the phrase “get over it” on the rectangular sign Collaborative (2012) on the left is meant to be humorous and would not be an approved message on a city or DOT sign.


retain these spaces for future use, it would be important to prevent such

School has undergone a visioning study to convert the paved lot adjacent to

changes through the zoning code, or prevent granting special permits for

the school into a greener recreational resource for the broader community. In

these conversions. Additionally, zoning should be implemented to promote

a neighborhood with such limited access to open space, every opportunity to

more human-scaled development on Washington Street, whether for

provide spaces for various types of use should be pursued.

industrial, commercial, or residential use.

Install Bus Shelters at Strategic Locations PARKS

To prevent a further decline in transit usage, bus shelters should be installed.

There are a few ongoing plans for new or rehabilitated open spaces in the

Because of its high ridership, route 17 should be prioritized, possibly by

neighborhood. SOSNA has recently constructed Catharine Park and is

placing shelters where the route meets Washington Avenue, Christian Street,

pursuing funding for a new park at Carpenter Square, and the C. A. Arthur

and South Street.


Implementation Feasibility and Prioritization of Recommendations BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN PLAN FOR PHILADELPHIA’S SOUTH OF SOUTH NEIGHBORHOOD

Cost Estimates of Recommendations Improvement

Unit Type

Low Price Estimate / Unit

High Price Estimate / Unit









Curb Extension





Lump Sum



Pedestrian Refuge Island




Planting at Curb Extensions

Square Foot



Pedestrian-Level Street Lights




Bus Shelter




Crosswalk Countdowns

Lump Sum




Based on 6’ by 20’ dimensions

Assumes curb and median approximately 6’ wide

Per intersection (assumes 8 signals). Cost is $300 - $800 for one countdown signal

Colored Concrete Crosswalk

Square Foot



Raised Crosswalk




Crosswalk Striping

Linear Foot



Low end: standard and zebra stripping; High end: high visibility fluorescent

Sources: Metropolitan Transportation (2006); Mirk (2010)


In terms of bicycle improvements, installing sharrows and share the road

The following page summarizes the key recommendations in terms of their

signage would be relatively inexpensive, costing roughly $229 and $350,

priority, relative cost, and probable timeframe, and groups them into four

respectively. Extending South of South’s bicycle network as recommended

categories: bicycle routes, pedestrian connections, traffic calming, and bus.

would thus most likely cost under $10,000 in total.

Improvements are deemed high, medium, and low priority, depending on the

Pedestrian improvements and traffic calming elements, on the other hand, are much more expensive. Repainting the crosswalks and lane markings on Christian Street and Washington Avenue would be an inexpensive starting point. Perhaps curb extensions or a pedestrian refuge island where 18th Street or 19th Street crosses Washington Avenue would be a next item, connecting to Chew Playground. Raised crosswalks are surprisingly much less expensive than curb extensions, at about a third to a fifth of the cost. Additionally, installing a colored concrete crosswalk would be very inexpensive. A combination of these two elements could be placed strategically throughout the neighborhood and along Christian Street, Catherine Street, and possibly Washington Avenue and South Street at a relatively low cost.

severity of the issues they seek to address and the degree to which they address those issues. For instance, a pedestrian countdown signal across Washington Avenue would give pedestrians the convenience of knowing how much time they will need to wait to cross, which would consequently encourage more pedestrian activity across Washington Avenue. However, high vehicle speeds would persist, making that wait unpleasant and potentially hazardous, and pedestrians would still need to cross a wide stretch of bare pavement. A more effective solution would both slow traffic speeds and create a shorter crossing distance. A pedestrian refuge island would accomplish both of these objectives. For these reasons, pedestrian countdown signals are designated as low priority and a pedestrian refuge island as high priority. Cost range determinations follow directly from the table on the previous page. Finally, each improvement’s timeframe reflects

Finally, bus shelters would provide a significant benefit at a moderate cost,

both the amount of time it may take to secure funding for the improvement

between $5,000 and $10,000 each. Even installing one or two would give

and the prioritized order in which those may be pursued.

bus riders shelter from the elements and provide awareness for a highly used bus route.


Prioritization of Improvements

Bicycle Routes



Cost Range





Extend South Street’s eastbound bicycle route




Sharrows along Christian Street, down 19th Street and up 18th Street and 25th Street







Pedestrian refuge island on Washington Avenue




Colored concrete crosswalks across Washington Avenue




Curb extensions across Washington Avenue by Chew Playground




Pedestrian countdown signals across Washington Avenue




Curb extensions along and across Christian Street, between 15th Street and 18th Street (at select crossings)




Raised crosswalks at select Christian Street and Catharine Street intersections between Broad Street and 15th Street




Repaint road markings on Christian Street




Repaint road markings on Washington Avenue




Pedestrian level street lighting on Washington Avenue and Christian Street




Bus shelters for bus route 17




Buffered bike lanes on Washington Avenue

Bus Traffic Calming

Pedestrian Connections

“Share the road” signage along new bicycle routes


Works Cited Community Design Collaborative, (2012). Safe streets, healthy neighborhoods Global Green USA, (2012). Sustainable neighborhood assessment Metropolitan Transportation Commission, (2006). Pedestrian districts study. Retrieved from website: Ped_Districts/04-Generic-Cost-Estimating-Tool.pdf Minnesota Department of Transportation, (2000). Cost of pavement marking materials Mirk, S. (2010, July 2). [Web log message]. Retrieved from Philadelphia City Planning Commission, (2005). South of south community plan Philadelphia City Planning Commission, (2009). South of south walkability plan Philadelphia City Planning Commission, (2012). Philadelphia pedestrian and bicycle plan Transit Miami (2010, July 16). [Web log message]. Retrieved from U.S. Census Bureau, (2000; 2010).


Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan for the South of South Neighborhood  

Student bicycle and pedestrian report for Philadelphia's South of South neighborhood.

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