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Market Street, JFK Blvd. Narrowed For City Traffic Experiment

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Market Street West in center city and JFK Boulevard look a little different today.  The city has begun a two-week test of reducing both thoroughfares by one lane.

The lefthand lanes of both Market Street and JFK Boulevard from 15th through 20th Streets are now closed to traffic for this week and next.  The city wants to study time impact if those lanes were permanently removed.

Stephen Buckley, deputy commissioner of streets for the City of Philadelphia, says this test was prodded by the Center City District and building owners along both streets:

“They said, ‘Hey, we’d be very interested in looking at changing the character of these two streets.  We feel that they’re fairly sterile, fairly highway oriented, and we want to make them a little more pedestrian-friendly.’ ”

Ideas being floated include using the lanes instead for additional green spaces, for bikes lanes, or even cafés.
Buckley promises that the public will have input before any decisions are made.

Reported by KYW City Hall bureau chief Mike Dunn

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  • Jen

    Great experiment – now people are using it as parking spaces.

  • Evelyn

    Why do you feel things have to change? If you want to bring more business into the city, which would mean more citizens who drive, why would you want to make to more congested than it already is. Or are you trying to emulate New York. Plus do we realy need cafes along JFK or Market St. West. Unless you know of tons of people who like lung and other cancers along with the lattes and quiche from car/bus fumes, rubbish and dirt when sitting outside eating. I can understand the frustation of drivers trying to leave a garage and get in the correct lane for their destination, so put in stop or yield signs at the exit ramp onto the street designed to let them out. And duse a camera for those who don’t fully stop or yield to them.

  • jim

    Yo Ant’n’y! try the Vine street expreesway to get around it.

  • rick

    Sounds fishy to me.Milton Street could not have thought of this.Take into account the Philly Attytood.The motoring public will put up with it if they can stand it.

    • Jenny

      Well, you have to think about what slows traffic: cars interacting with other cars. Not only how much roadway is available per se. If you reduce the number of lane/lane interactions, things often will speed up by more than the volume effect of more cars on less roadway. Visibility also improves with fewer lanes. If you could characterize the rate effects of both in separate formulas (instead of having to determine a mathematical sweet spot with an experiment like this to gain empirical evidence), it would be an optimization calculus problem. It’s not rocket science.

      • Jenny

        This, above, was posted in response to another comment (albeit a nonsensical one, but I try to work with even the dimmest of light)…that has now disappeared, so I guess that other commenter’s comment was tossed.

  • Jenny

    Traffic would not necessarily divert to alternate roads. In fact, it may flow more smoothly as there are: fewer lane changes by drivers, fewer lanes to have to cross over (to if leaving a garage and then having to take a turn across the street only a half a block away, for example), less cutting off of other cars and less of a difference in car speed between lanes — all of which cause domino effects when these factors lead to sudden braking or fender benders etc.

    This is exactly why they are conducting an experiment to see its impacts. It could actually make traffic better. That needs to be seen. Never assume that one less lane means less capacity and therefore increased traffic.

    In NYC, the removal of whole sections of Broadway to traffic greatly improved traffic flow midtown! Broadway cuts at a diagonal across the grid. There have been thoughts of making even greater stretches all the way down to Soho be pedestrian. The impact there with that, though is with businesses wanting vehicular access.

  • ant'n'y

    Such an experiment could open a can of worms.traafic would go onto other narrow potholed streets.Yea right,tell me this isn’t a government operation.

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