At the dangerous passage of the art museum, Philadelphia promises new signage

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Philly plans to install more signage in an effort to prevent people from risking their lives crossing the street in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, officials told Billy Penn.

A few sets of white stripes span four lanes of traffic as the Ben Franklin Parkway winds past the museum, passing between the famous steps and fountain of the Washington Monument at Eakins Oval.

These are not official crosswalks. The lines are horizontal from a driver’s perspective, vertical from the perspective of someone trying to cross the street – the opposite direction of a regular crosswalk.

But people often confuse them with just one.

The lines are actually there to mark the soft soundtracks that were installed in 2020 to “deter drag racing and other illegal activity,” according to a city spokesperson. Some residents argue that the strips – or at least the way they are marked out – are confusing and can create dangerous situations.

The area in front of the museum is often crowded, given its proximity to many of Philadelphia’s major tourist destinations, recreation areas, and cultural institutions.

Photos and videos posted on social media showed pedestrians crossing the lanes to get to the other side of the oval. Recent video shows several people rushing down the street at this location in each direction, with a pair of pedestrians just yards from a moving car at one point.

“Egg on my face, I guess, but until that exact moment I had no idea it wasn’t just some weird crosswalk.” wrote Twitter user @prismxp. “Happy to take the low info pedestrian L or whatever, but it makes sense and I used it.”

another user underline the zigzag needed to get to the fountain via the existing pedestrian crossings.

“It’s such an amazing place, full of tourists and people who want to enjoy our beautiful city, and it’s so unpleasant to visit,” user @CyclingPhilly wrote. “To get to the fountain, you literally need 8 road crossings over 200 meters. It’s crazy.

Some people think the the strips must be painted to avoid confusion, while others want to see the area completely closed to cars. Other suggestions included adding a traffic light or speed cameras in this location.

Signs are already posted to indicate there is no crosswalk, according to the city, but officials plan to add more signage to direct pedestrians to the actual crosswalks, where there are traffic lights.

Additionally, the Street Department is working with Parks and Recreation to ensure that the chains that are supposed to connect the terminals – the small vertical posts on the sides of the sidewalk – are maintained, according to the city spokesperson.

“It is a Kenney Administration priority to improve pedestrian safety by making updates to our roads that deter motorists from speeding and provide clear signage to all users,” the gatekeeper wrote. -word.

No timeline was given for the promised signage, but the city has a long term plan for redevelop the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from Logan Circle to the Art Museum to make it more pedestrian and cyclist friendly.

Last fall, the city tapped the firm Design Workshop to lead the reimagining. The company’s original proposal pedestrian floating on the boardwalk eliminating interstate on- and off-ramps and widening the tunnel under Eakins Oval. But no final plans for the multi-year project have yet been announced, so it’s unclear at this time how the project would impact traffic.

The end product is still years away, with targeted “key aspects” being completed in time for the half-centenary celebration in 2026.

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Reggie S. Williams