East Falls Local

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Category: Traffic

Heads Up, Henry!

Lane closures starting Monday for Henry Avenue bridge deck repairs.

The Wissahickon Memorial bridge leads Henry Avenue across the creek near Philadelphia/Jefferson University. According to PennDOT, it’s a reinforced concrete “open spandrel deck arch” bridge built in 1931, now carrying nearly 30,000 vehicles per day.

And it needs some fixing.  Starting Monday, Eastbound motorists on Henry Avenue will face extra traffic, thanks to right-lane closures during bridge deck repairs. FYI, PennDOT’s spending over almost 12 million dollars to rehab five structurally-deficient bridges, including ours.

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Road Rage

Ouch — friction online over PennDOT’s plans for safety/speeding improvements along our stretch of Henry Avenue! Tuesday night’s meeting looks like a doozie already… 

Heads up! This meeting should make for some interesting video if the chatter on Nextdoor is any indication. Community Council’s traffic committee has been bickering quite publicly, with a few former/current members pushing for a roundabout that their own chair considers unrealistic.

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Soooo Over Speedbumps

More speed bumps? Community Council’s traffic committee considers “traffic calming” measures for Penn, Midvale & Schoolhouse Lane while we take a crash course on the road obstruction controversy. 

To bastardize Frost: Something there is that doesn’t love a speed bump. Or hump or cushion… These are all mechanical deterrents for speeding. In other words, they’re ways we take a perfectly efficient road and muck it up on purpose. Engineering giveth, and PennDOT taketh away.

But it’s for our own good, though, isn’t it? Ehhhh… Depends on who you ask. And what you mean by “help.”

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Crosstown Traffic

While PennDOT repairs & resurfaces Lincoln Drive in 2017, Community Council’s Traffic Committee holds out for radical safety upgrades on Henry Avenue.

Since 2015, the intersection of Henry & Schoolhouse has been waiting for curb bumpouts, new signals, and other safety improvements based on PennDOT’s $250k study that specifically considered our 1.4 mile stretch of Henry Ave. Last August, Traffic Committee members emphatically rejected PennDOT’s plan for six miles of Henry Avenue running from Strawberry Mansion to the Cathedral Village retirement community in Roxborough.

Instead of the improvement that PennDOT recommends, (vocal members of) Community Council is lobbying for roundabouts at the intersection of Henry & Schoolhouse and several others to slow traffic. In addition, some members also support reducing the number of lanes in each direction, and adding a designated bike lane.

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Don’t Get Stuck

The good news: Lincoln Drive is getting a whole host of safety, traffic, drainage, and even aesthetic improvements. The bad news: traffic could be nightmarish for awhile. Details, plus a work-around for visitors & neighborhood newbies. 

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So now that Walnut Lane Bridge is open for traffic, Philadelphia Streets Department has got Lincoln Drive next on the docket. Streets engineering manager Vadim Fleysh stopped by Community Council’s general meeting earlier this month to brief the neighborhood on what to expect when work begins.

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Street Smarts

Our business corridor’s sharper these days, thanks to a tireless band of process wonks & local leaders who refused to give up on safety fixes & more curb parking at a busy stretch of Ridge. 

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What a gorgeous day for a ribbon cutting! We made time to meet up with Sharon Jaffe, chair of the board of EFDC and quite a Who’s Who of East Falls’ business and leadership. Maybe it was the weather, but this gathering seemed remarkably joyful for a civic formality.

Inn Yard Park was ablaze with Fall color so we took a bunch of pictures and even attempted an “Abbey Road” photo shoot on Ridge Avenue in rush hour. I guess folks get a little cocky when they feel they’ve achieved the impossible.

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LOCAL TRAFFIC: Good News & Bad News

Yay! Construction on the Walnut Lane Bridge should be completed next month! Unfortunately, as one traffic snarl ends, another begins — this one, even closer to home. 

EastFallsLocal Walnut Lane Bridge nears completion Judy Gotwald Aug 2016 txt

Have you been loving all the traffic on Schoolhouse Lane, or what? Since repairs began on the Walnut Lane Bridge last April, rush hour in East Falls has been extra-maddening thanks to detours that bring drivers from all over NW Philly thru our neighborhood.

Walnut Lane Bridge is one of only two crossing points over the entire 4-mile stretch of the Wissahickon Gorge — with its closing, many drivers from Chestnut Hill, Mt Airy, Germantown, etc. were detoured thru East Falls streets, creating stop-and-go traffic several times a day. Locals are ready to say goodbye to Rush Hour headaches.

Not so fast, Fallsers!

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