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Change Coming to Famous Philly “Sneckdown” Street, But Is It Enough?

This Philadelphia intersection was in need of some pedestrian improvements, as the patterns in the snow helped illustrate. Image: This Old City
This Philadelphia intersection could use some pedestrian improvements, as the patterns in the snow helped illustrate. Image: This Old City
This Philadelphia intersection was in need of some pedestrian improvements, as the patterns in the snow helped illustrate. Image: This Old City

Do you remember this image? Jon Geeting at This Old City used this touched-up photo, taken after a huge snowfall in Philadelphia, to illustrate how lots of asphalt at this intersection could be repurposed to make it more pedestrian-friendly. His post was a viral event in the great "sneckdown" mania this winter, which called attention to how leftover snow patterns can help envision safer street designs.

Well, the city of Philadelphia is working now to build a more pedestrian-friendly intersection here, at the corner of East Passyunk Avenue, 10th and Reed Street. Philly Curbed reports:

The Passyunk Post reported back in June that the work could cost upwards of "$400,000" and includes traffic calming techniques like expanding the curbs to shorten the distance pedestrians have to walk, improved signaling and the installation of ADA compliant ramps.

Construction on a dangerous East Passyunk intersection in Philadelphia. Photo: Hilly Curbed
Construction on a dangerous East Passyunk intersection in Philadelphia. Photo: Philly Curbed
Construction on a dangerous East Passyunk intersection in Philadelphia. Photo: Hilly Curbed

It's a step forward, but Geeting thinks this intervention should have taken more cues from the sneckdown. While curbs will be expanded to calm traffic, there will be no pedestrian island. Here's a visualization he posted in June showing all the space that could be reallocated to pedestrians:

The city will be adding curb extensions at this intersection, but not in all the places that Jon Geeting has mapped out here.

Geeting snapped photos of more than 20 sneckdowns on East Passyunk alone, so Philadelphia still has a lot of work to do to make these streets better.

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