Next stage for Lincoln Drive traffic safety

by Emma Riverso
Posted 5/15/24

The city and the state have released preliminary second-stage schematics, outlining additional traffic safety measures on Lincoln Drive and a plan for Emlen Circle.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Next stage for Lincoln Drive traffic safety


The City of Philadelphia Department of Streets and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) recently released preliminary second-stage schematics, outlining the implementation of additional traffic safety measures on Lincoln Drive and a plan for Emlen Circle.

According to Anne Dicker, president of West Mt. Airy Neighbors (WMAN) and co-chair of its traffic calming committee, the second phase of the plan will improve safety for drivers and passengers but falls short in addressing pedestrian safety.

Dicker requested that the proposed "bulb-outs" or sidewalk extensions on Lincoln Drive be converted into raised crosswalks. "We don't see how this really helps the walking members of the multiple congregations that make up the Germantown Jewish Centre, or the preschoolers who go there during the week," she said.

The plan also eliminates the community-tended Emlen Circle garden. WMAN suggests turning the grass area into a bioswale for beautification and stormwater management. Neighbors are also concerned about the conversion of Ellet Street to one-way, as drivers may speed through easily with the added road width.

The first-stage schematics, released in September, promised the installation of rumble strips, speed feedback displays and speed tables along portions of the Drive. "A lot of the improvements that we were planning on Lincoln Drive have already been installed," said PennDOT District 6 traffic engineer Sharang Malaviya, noting sign and pavement marking improvements, rumble strips, and delineator posts.

PennDOT has been working with the City to install speed tables, which typically take only a few days to complete. "Just wish they would give us a date," Dicker said.

According to Malaviya, the implemented traffic calming measures have addressed aggressive driving, a concern expressed by residents in a survey. Speed tables on Allens Lane decreased the average speed from 59 to 19 mph, reducing the likelihood of severe injury and fatality in crashes.

High friction surface treatment has been completed along stretches of the Drive to prevent run-off-the-road and curve-related crashes, said PennDOT traffic safety manager Vince Cerbone. The City is also taking the lead on installing speed feedback signs along the corridor.

Another PennDOT project will add overhead signals to the Drive and realign the Emlen Street intersection.

"Physical changes to the roadways will make it safer for all of us," said John Boyle, research director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

State and City legislation will support five cameras on high-injury network roads in Philadelphia, which account for 80% of the City's crashes. Roosevelt Boulevard speed cameras, installed over a year ago through the Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) program, have reduced fatalities by 50% and have been made permanent.

Despite this, Roosevelt Boulevard still outpaces all other roads in the City for crashes and fatalities. With only four severe injury or fatal crashes from 2020 through 2021, Lincoln Drive is unlikely to get one of the new speed cameras.