Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that the City of Philadelphia will receive a $2.5 million grant from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grant program run by the Department of Transportation. The funds will contribute to the City’s Roosevelt Boulevard Project and support the development of the Bus Rapid Transit system along Roosevelt Boulevard. Planned developments on Roosevelt Boulevard include modifications to provide safe pedestrian crossings, transit access, and effective separation of express traffic from local traffic accessing neighborhood destinations. The goals of this planning are to accommodate users of Roosevelt Boulevard, curtail the risk of crashes, and improve pedestrian safety. Originally built to handle trolleys Roosevelt Boulevard now sees 900,000 vehicles per day pass through accounting for 150,000 trips. Between 2008 and 2012 there have been 3,468 crashes along Roosevelt Boulevard which have resulted in 49 fatalities.
“Making improvements along Roosevelt Boulevard will have a positive impact on the region’s economy and make improvements to one of the region’s most congested highways,” Senator Casey said. “The region’s infrastructure needs have undergone drastic changes since Roosevelt Boulevard was originally built to handle trolleys many years ago. These upgrades are long overdue and this grant will contribute to the vital work that needs to be done along this highway.”
“The City of Philadelphia’s Study for a Better Roosevelt Boulevard is an important first step in improving safety, mobility and access along the Roosevelt Boulevard Corridor,” said Joseph M. Casey, General Manager of SEPTA. “SEPTA is pleased to be a partner in the City’s planning efforts to transform the Boulevard into a truly multimodal artery – one that safely accommodates all modes of transportation, including SEPTA bus service.”
Roosevelt Boulevard is a 12-lane, 300-foot wide divided highway that serves as a major north-south traffic artery and commercial corridor through a densely populated, urbanized area of North and Northeast Philadelphia. Originally built to support trolleys, the Boulevard evolved to handle automobiles. An estimated 90,000 vehicles pass through the Boulevard on a daily basis. The road facilitates up to 150,000 trips each day. The Boulevard serves as a connection point to the terminus of the Market Frankford Subway Elevated Rail Line at Frankford Transportation Center and the terminus of the Broad Street Subway Line at the Fern Rock Transportation Center. It cuts through several densely populated neighborhoods that depend less on cars and more on transit. Over the past 10 years, these neighborhoods have experienced significant changes, including rising poverty and fewer automobile-owning households. Nearly 50 percent of North Philadelphia residents do not own a car, and another 40 percent have only one car.