It’s no secret that Philly is booming—nearly 50,000 people have come to the city since 2010—and with more residents comes more congestion.
That was the focus of several measures introduced Thursday by city officials looking to cut down on the gridlock plaguing Center City.
The first measure was a proposed amendment introduced by City Council President Darrell Clarke during council Thursday morning. The amendment would establish a new group of city employees called Public Safety Enforcement Officers, who would handle traffic regulation and provide aid to police during special events. They wouldn’t carry weapons or have the ability to arrest people, but they would ease the burden of police officers. Speaking about the amendment Thursday, Clarke said that there simply aren’t enough police to cover both traffic and more serious crime issues.
The second measure came just hours later when Mayor Jim Kenney announced that his office had banded together with SEPTA, the PPA, and the police department to focus on reducing Center City congestion. The plan, which goes into effect Monday, would see the transit departments and police step up their enforcement, bringing more officers to Market and Chestnut streets, specifically, and cracking down on traffic and parking violations. They want to target those misusing bike and bus lanes, blocking the box, and illegally parking in the street or median.
Of course, congestion has consequences that are more far-reaching than merely making people late for work. There are safety issues that come with drivers taking over bike lanes, cutting off buses, or parking where they shouldn’t be. In fact, two bikers were hit in serious accidents—one of which proved fatal—last year, prompting the city to announce a bike lane repaving project.
But among all the proposals regarding cutting down on congestion, we want to hear from you. How could the city fight congestion and improve safety? Should the mayor’s plan expand beyond Center City? What areas should officials target, and what violations in particular? Would Clarke’s proposal have an impact?
Let us know what you think in the comments.