by Will McQuillan
On East Evergreen Avenue, child-sized figures made of bright green plastic line the sidewalk.
“They’re out there to slow down people who just need a reminder they’re going too fast,” said Kristi Baker, who lives in the 200 block of East Evergreen. “Our street is a busy pass-through between Stenton and Germantown. It feels like living on a highway. We just want to remind everyone that it’s a residential area.”
Baker, like many East Evergreen residents, feels the speeding cars pose a danger to children and increase the risk of accidents. Those living on Evergreen Place, which intersects East Evergreen Avenue opposite Ardleigh Street, have added that the high-speed traffic makes it difficult for them to access Germantown Avenue.
Speeding traffic has even posed a threat to parked cars on Evergreen
“My car has been hit three times while I was buckling my kids into their seats, and one time the door had to be completely replaced,” said Baker. “People have side-view mirrors taken off. It’s a regular occurrence.”
After a 2015 Philadelphia Streets Department plan to install asphalt speed cushions stalled due to residential concerns over the construction involved, Baker and her neighbors looked for other ways to slow traffic.
This spring, she collected signatures from residents of Evergreen Place and the 100 and 200 blocks of East Evergreen Avenue to create a petition for an all-way stop at the intersection of Evergreen Avenue and Ardleigh Street. The petition was sent to the office of City Councilwoman Cindy Bass and Streets Department Traffic Engineer David Dlugosz, and triggered an official study on the issue.
Due to the safety concerns involved, the case was treated as a priority. The Streets Department conducted its study during May and June and found that an all-way stop was necessary. Signs were installed on July 5.
While a victory for East Evergreen residents, the addition of an all-way stop has highlighted another area problem by shrinking the available street parking by five spaces.
“It doesn’t really seem fair that we have to give up parking to be more safe,” said Baker.
She fears the shortage will force locals to seek spots on Ardleigh Street, Anderson Street, or farther away. Baker now plans to advocate for the addition of removable speed cushions to East Evergreen Avenue.
Will McQuillan is a Local intern.