By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Can Roosevelt Boulevard, through Northeast Philadelphia, become a corridor that can safely meet the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers, and mass transit?

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A major planning study getting underway in the coming months has the goal of coming up with answers to that question.

Denise Goren, director of policy and planning at Mayor Nutter’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, says a $2.5-million federal grant will fund a study of the problems plaguing Roosevelt Boulevard and attempt to identify solutions.

She says it’s obvious the Boulevard doesn’t work for anyone in its current configuration, including “for people who are trying to cross 12 lanes of traffic.  It doesn’t work for people who are on the Route 14 Septa bus where it’s taking them three times as long to get from point to point than if they were driving their own car.  It certainly doesn’t work for bicyclists. And, we’ve got some driver behavior and accident and safety issues.”

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She says safety is one of the key priorities.

“We have a record we shouldn’t be proud of in terms of incidents and accidents on the Boulevard.  But we also have a problem that’s been one that has concerned the people who live along the Boulevard, who work along the Boulevard, of how to have alternatives to driving your own car,” she tells KYW Newsradio.

Among the transit possibilities: a dedicated rapid transit bus line.

Goren says the goal is for the plan to set a course for investment in short and long-term improvements along Roosevelt Boulevard.

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