48th Street Greenway Petition + Survey
The 48th Street Greenway Coalition is a block-by-block coalition of neighbors, block captains, and community associations organizing, advocating, and doing the hands-on work to improve 48th Street between Kingsessing Avenue and Market Street. The coalition values community connections, traffic and pedestrian safety, environmental sustainability, and thriving trees and gardens that create comfort and small joys in daily life. Garden Court Community Association is hosting a petition by the coalition to the City of Philadelphia that 48th Street be repaved and improved following completion of utility work underway in 2022. The petition includes a survey to help understand supporters, their experiences, and their priorities. If you need more more background first, see below.
461 SIGNATURES AS OF 4/27/22 (goal: 500)
This petition went 'live' on 8 April 2022. Petition and Survey results will be posted separately in May.
48th Street is the central axis connecting neighborhoods between Market Street and SEPTA’s Media Line. It comprises a mix of apartments, twins and rowhouses built between the 1880s and 1920s, and is home to some of West Philadelphia’s most carefully tended gardens. 48th Street carries the Route 64 bus north of Baltimore Avenue, and leads to hubs of commerce, civic life, and transit links at Market Street, Spruce Street and Baltimore Avenue. These neighborhoods are transit and pedestrian oriented; nearly half of residents commute by transit, one third of households do not even own a car, and the area registers some of the highest rates of bicycling in the region.
Tragically, 48th Street has also been on the City of Philadelphia’s High Injury Network, the 12% of city streets accounting for 80% of serious injuries and fatalities. The street carries relatively little vehicular volume, is controlled by a combination of stop signs and signals, and several legal crosswalks lack any traffic control device. Heavy trucks on the street can shake houses where the street is in poor condition, which has been exacerbated by recent utility work. 48th Street is ten feet wider than nearby north-south streets, and pavement markings for its bike lanes have long faded away, contributing to perilous conditions. Many blocks have shady trees, but others scorch in the summer sun, making them less comfortable to walk on and increasing the incidence of speeding all year round.
Community Voices to date
About 90% of respondents to a 2020 Garden Court survey of residents near Larchwood and Osage Avenues expressed concern about motorists speeding on 48th Street and failing to yield at intersections. The 2016 Walnut Hill Neighborhood Plan recommended repainting the 48th Street bike lane and identified three locations for crosswalk improvement on 48th Street. In a 2019 Cedar Park survey, 93% agreed that “preventing traffic deaths and serious injuries should take priority over convenience.” The petition and survey being conducted in April 2022 will shed light on how much community support there is for making changes to 48th Street. With sufficient community support, the 48th Street Greenway Coalition will take this issue up with City Hall.
A Time for Change
48th Street has not been paved in decades, and striping in many sections is non-existent. In early 2022, PGW excavated the street between Kingsessing Avenue and Market Street, further degrading its condition. At the north end of the corridor, the City is preparing to improve traffic safety by shortening crosswalks and separating bike lanes from cars on Chestnut Street. It is time that 48th Street be re-paved, but replacing the status quo in kind would be a poor use of limited public resources.
Re-paving should be accompanied by implementation of a holistic plan for the street, including:
traffic calming and pedestrian safety improvements;
basic passenger amenities at bus stops;
updating the long-faded bike lane between Market Street and Kingsessing Recreation Center;
pruning trees to improve stop sign visibility, and;
planting trees where they are lacking today (with interested property owners)
Our coalition does not yet propose a specific plan for physical improvements, but seeks one to be developed quickly and collaboratively based on the priorities outlined.
AGREE? SIGN THE PETITION! SHARE IT!
Government listens best to clear voices. The 48th Street Greenway Coalition has put together a petition to tell decision-makers that it's time to make 48th Street work better for everyone. The petition includes a survey to help understand supporters, their experiences, and their priorities.
Share this blog post with your friends and neighbors. The more signatures we get, the stronger your voice becomes.