Washington Avenue reimagined
The Bella Vista Neighbors Association will hold a Zoom session to discuss survey results for the space’s future.
Washington Avenue holds sway as South Philly’s most prominent east-west thoroughfare. In advance of a planned repaving in 2021, the City’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability (oTIS) conducted a survey on the hopes that various groups have for the space. This Wedneday, July 29, from 7 to 8 p.m. the Bella Vista Neighbors Association (BVNA) will address the replies via at their general meeting held on Zoom. BVNA’s southern boundary runs along Washington Avenue from 6th to 11th streets.
“Its reputation is pretty impressive, so looking at what people have said will be a great opportunity to gauge what the future holds for Washington Avenue,” said Eugene Desyatnik, BVNA’s president. Desyatnik noted that more than 5,000 people gave OTIS their opinion. “We want what’s practical for everyone because of not only that reputation, but also the possibilities that are there for us to improve life for so many residents, businesses, and consumers.”
OTIS gathered feedback from February through July 1. After looking at loading zones, parking, public safety, traffic, and transit, the City agency presented three layouts for what is presently a five-lane thoroughfare. The avenue witnessed 254 crashes between 2012 and 2018, with four fatalities.
The Zoom session will look at the three-lane plan that OTIS proposed. This plan had a 71-percent favorability rating.
“I’m very happy that so many people are enthused about what could come about through the survey,” Desyatnik said of the outreach that asked residents, proprietors, and motorists to look at life from Fourth Street to Washington Avenue’s intersection with Grays Ferry Avenue. “Since there are so many civic organizations and bodies that have a stake in what occurs along Washington Avenue, it should be very productive to see what OTIS does with the reaction that people gave to the three-lane plan.”
In inspecting the three-lane proposal as well as others, respondents learned that “none of the options will lead to major traffic jams or congestion.” Through the federally-funded project, we will likely see not only a smoother Washington Avenue but also one with protected bike lanes, safer and shorter pedestrian crossings, and regulated parking and loading opportunities, among other changes.
“We want to further everyone’s connections to Washington Avenue,” Desyatnik said. “We’re a few months ahead of the repaving, but it’s great to build the anticipation now, and that’s one of the things that we’ll do come Wednesday. With so many bad and heartbreaking headlines having come our way so far in 2020, this should be cause for a good amount of excitement.”
Bella Vista Neighbors Association – General Meeting
Wednesday, July 29 – 7 to 8 p.m.
Register for the online meeting.