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