While we often think of West Philadelphia as one of the leafier, greener spaces in the entire city, some of the roads that cut through this section of town are far from green. 48th Street, which makes a turn at Baltimore Ave. as it makes its way through multiple neighborhoods, is one example of such a street. 48th Street has unfortunately seen its fair share of accidents as people race through the area, and upon a recent repaving announcement, some neighbors decided to speak up and offer a solution to this dangerous roadway: The 48th Street Greenway. This proposed greenway would cover the same stretch that is to be repaved, from Kingsessing Avenue up to Haverford Avenue.

A map of the proposed Greenway, cutting across West Philadelphia

After major road work late last year, folks from multiple impacted neighborhoods came together, recognizing that the future repaving was an opportunity to reinvent the layout of the roads. The main driver (pun not intended) was to make the space safe for pedestrians, as the wide road offers little in terms of access to bikers and walkers.

A look at the current conditions along 48th Street

The crux of this new proposal is the addition of bike lanes, which would ideally be physically separated from the road and parking, which would still line both sides of the street. Additionally, there are short-term plans to add painted bump-outs, further calming traffic while taking back some road space for pedestrians. A stop sign study was also proposed, adding more safety to some key intersections.

A look at the proposed layout for the Greenway
A look at a proposed bump-out, which would be painted at first

So, where are we now? According to a Twitter account for the Greenway, this proposed road diet was presented to the Streets Department, and Streets now needs to pitch the updates to the Councilperson to approve the final approach. To us, this plan seems right on the money, as road calming measures are crucial to public safety. We also appreciate how realistic these changes are in the near term, with temporary interventions serving as a proof of concept for future investments. Will we see this happen now that the road has been milled? We couldn’t tell you, but we are thrilled that more and more neighborhoods across the city understand how quality of life can be improved by making things a bit more friendly to pedestrians.