City officials are looking at how to make the dangerous curve at W. Evergreen and Navajo safer.

by Brendan Sample

After another year of seeing increased car crashes, it appears that the intersection of West Evergreen Avenue and Navajo Street may finally be getting increased safety measures later this year.

After visiting the intersection – which is really more of  a 90-degree turn — on Friday, Jan. 26, Eighth District City Councilwoman Cindy Bass and the Philadelphia Streets Department announced that they would be commissioning a traffic study to determine the best course of action to take to increase safety.

With the number of accidents piling up at the intersection, including three since December, both Bass and the Streets Department decided that a closer look at the area was necessary. While no specific timeline was given for when the study might be completed, Bass did promise a quick process that will also lead to getting direct input from the community.

“My office takes traffic safety very seriously,” Bass said. “I went to the intersection of Evergreen Avenue and Navajo Street and the surrounding neighborhood with Department of Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams and several traffic engineers to walk the block with some residents and discuss what’s happening there.

“We wanted the Commissioner and other traffic professionals to hear and see what was happening firsthand, study the flow of traffic and make an assessment of the situation. As a result, a traffic study will be done expeditiously. The engineering professionals will make recommendations from that study, and we plan to hold an open community meeting on those recommendations to get resident input, discuss next steps and take action.”

Indeed, residents living near the intersection have been hoping for some sort of change, including Jason LaRocco and Pamela Hans, a couple whose property is separated from the intersection by a single wall and several steel bollards. Though the bollards have prevented cars from crashing into the wall in the past, several of them are still knocked over from cars going too fast around the curved intersection, which has a speed limit of just 15 mph.

LaRocco and Hans have both been involved in trying to get help from Bass’ office, as the intersection has been a problem for several years now. They have pushed for the installation of speed cushions in the past, but alternative options are also being discussed, though it still remains early in the process of determining what will ultimately be best for the intersection.

“We remain cautiously optimistic that something will be done within the next six months,” said LaRocco, who attended the meeting with Bass and the Streets Department. “Given the number of accidents over the last year, I believe the City recognizes that something must be done. One option currently being considered is reversing the one-way direction of traffic between Navajo and Highland and Evergreen and Shawnee. This would reverse traffic at the corner of Navajo and Evergreen and allow less time to accelerate into the turn without having to install speed cushions.”