Germantown Avenue in Northern Liberties and Old Kensington can be extremely hard to navigate for pedestrians and cyclists. The wide, two-way road has parking on both sides and is surrounded by construction projects.
The intersection of Girard Ave. and Germantown Ave. is especially troublesome for pedestrians, cyclists, and cars. There is no traffic light at this intersection, which makes crossing Girard extremely difficult. During rush hour, cars get backed up on Girard from the light at 2nd St, causing a jam on Germantown Ave. During off-peak hours, cars fly down Girard Ave. The poor sight lines caused by cars parked on Girard Ave. make it almost impossible to cross the intersection safely. Thankfully, a new streets project will include adding a traffic light at Germantown Ave. and Girard Ave. This should make the intersection safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and cars.
The project will also include the addition of protected bike lanes to Germantown Ave. from N. 2nd St. to Master St. We don’t see protected bike lanes in Philadelphia too often, so we are very excited about this aspect of the project. The two way bike lanes will be added to the east side of Germantown Ave. These bike lanes will come close to meeting the new bike lanes on American St. that are currently under construction.
Germantown Ave. will also become a one-way road for cars as a result of this project. The section of the avenue from N. 2nd St. to Master St. will run northbound only. Parallel parking spots will be maintained on both sides of Germantown Ave.
Another aspect of the project that is extremely exciting is the stormwater management infrastructure that is being added. The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) has been on a mission to divert as much stormwater away from the sewage system as possible. They have done this through creating rain gardens, utilizing porous roadway surfaces, and incentivizing homeowners to use stormwater diversion tools among other methods. PWD’s methods not only help divert stormwater, but they also usually make the streetscape more visually appealing and safer for pedestrians.
For the Germantown Ave. project, a green pedestrian island will be added at the intersection of N. 3rd St. along with other curb bump-outs. This angled intersection is currently extremely wide and difficult to cross as a pedestrian. The improvements should make crossing easier and safer.
Although this project is only covering a few blocks, we are extremely excited about it. Two dangerous intersections are being remediated along with improved bicycle and stormwater infrastructure being added. Hundreds of new residents along with new businesses should be moving to this stretch in the next couple of years. This project should make commuting safer for all of the new and existing residents.
For more details on the project, see the FULL PLAN PDF.