Officials are planning a repaving project to improve safety along Spruce and Pine streets, just four months after one biker was killed and another injured along those routes.
Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems (oTIS) announced the plan Friday evening, saying that the project, which will begin in late 2018, will run almost the full length of both Spruce and Pine streets, from Front to 22nd Streets. The city plans to repave deteriorated portions of the road and repaint stop bars and crosswalks, oTIS said in a statement.
Among the goals of the project, a top priority will be moving the bike lane from the right to the left sides of the one-way streets. That means, in the case of both streets, bikers would be riding along the driver’s side of the cars.
“Left-side bike lanes increase safety at intersections by making people on bicycles more visible to drivers,” oTIS said in a statement, adding that was especially true in the case of truck drivers, who often have difficulty seeing bikers and pedestrians on their right.
The department will hold two public meetings to address the plan—one on April 4, for residents and business owners on the west side of Broad Street, and another on April 5, for those on the east side.
The announcement comes months after 24-year-old Emily Fredricks was killed while biking at the intersection of 11th and Spruce streets in late November. According to Phillymag, Fredricks was biking along the right side of a trash truck, when the vehicle made a righthand turn and hit her.
Just three weeks later, 24-year-old Becca Refford was hit and seriously injured in a crash on 13th and Pine, that was strikingly similar to Fredricks’. She, too, was biking near an intersection when she was hit by a truck making a turn onto Pine Street, according to Philly.com.
The department addressed these crashes in a description of the project on their website, saying the project will make the streets safer for people biking, walking, driving and riding transit.
The April 4 meeting will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Merck Education Center in the Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street. The April 5 meeting will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Elaine Levitt Auditorium in Gershman Hall, University of the Arts, 401 S. Broad Street.