Philadelphia's 'Connect Week' aims to ease traffic-related issues

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'Connect Week' aims to end traffic congestion across city: Sarah Bloomquist reports on Action News at 6 p.m., October 15, 2018

This week in Philadelphia is 'Connect Week,' a week of highlighting ways in which congestion and other traffic-related issues can be improved around the city.

On Monday, the city announced a pilot program aimed at easing congestion around 30th Street Station, a notorious choke point for traffic.

"This here is ridiculous. Okay. Anybody with a cane or any other handicap. It's a problem," said Candy young. "And a lot of times coming from here you'll be lucky if they stop."

A new pilot program will put police officers at intersections starting this week. It's part of a partnership between the city, Drexel and the University City District.

"We're going to be increasing enforcement against blocking the box and yielding to pedestrians on Thursdays and Fridays better around the station," said Andrew Stober of University City District. "We're going to measure it and see if it works."

The city is looking at a number of ways to improve traffic safety and manage congestion as part of its new 7-year strategic plan called Connect.

In a city survey, residents picked the state of the streets and transportation as the services most in need of improvement.

"I live in South Philadelphia. It's generally more congested to move from South Philadelphia into Center City," said Gaetano Piccirilli. "Don't quite know why that is, but it is an issue."

SEPTA plans a redesign of its network. Delivery truck schedules may be adjusted. Officials will look at adding more protected bike lanes.

"Oh, that's always a great idea," said Max Karasick of West Philadelphia. "It would make it safer for me for anyone using them and probably get more people out riding bikes."

With 57,000 newly-registered cars in 5 years and a 70 percent increase in people biking to work from a decade ago, the city needs to find better ways to keep everyone moving.

"The city is going to be releasing new initiatives that they have on the transportation front and seeking more input from the public on how to improve transportation in the city," said Stober.

Look for traffic enforcement officers around 30th Street Station starting Thursday during peak hours.

They want to know if it helps, especially considering the Chestnut Street bridge will be closing for improvements next year.

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