Improvements being finalized for wonky intersection at 12th and Passyunk

Remember back in February 2014 when we reported the city would spend $300,000 on pedestrian improvements at 12th, Passyunk and Morris?

Plans are being finalized to make that a reality, and the even better news is that it is supposed to turn out a lot better than the lipstick-on-a-pig renovation up at 10th Street.

One side of the intersection is really far from the other
One side of the 12th and Passyunk intersection is really far from the other. Pic taken last winter.

Plans have not been set in stone, but they include adding a traffic island in the middle of the intersection, expanding the curb at most street corners to shrink the distance pedestrians have to cross, extending the peninsula in front of A Man’s Image, adding pedestrian timing lights and of course, adding greenery and improving lighting.

When it’s all said and done, the city Commerce Department and the Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation will pony up the money to cover the tab of about $700,000.

PARC director Sam Sherman said he actually printed out pictures of the “sneckdowns” created by last winter’s repeated snowstorms and took them to a landscape architect to use as a template (Nice job, This Old City).

“Then we started working with the Streets Department,” Sherman said. “The final plan should be ready in the next month or two, but really it’s following the photograph.”

Pic from Feb. 2014 from a This Old City post that was seen by tens of thousands of people literally around the world.
Pic from Feb. 2014 from a This Old City post that was seen by tens of thousands of people literally around the world.

The improvements should beautify the intersection as well as make it safer for pedestrians. “It won’t be such a free for all, and traffic lights will be fixed so cars don’t get stuck n the middle. For a little intersection, its pretty complicated.”

Work is supposed to start in early 2016 and be done by June or July of next year, Sherman said.

The big difference between this and the project at 10th Street, he said, is that this one has had PARC, the Streets and Commerce departments and Councilman Mark Squilla’s office all involved from the beginning. 

Three parking spaces will be lost, but in exchange, the neighborhood gets a safer intersection and  another place to stop for a second and take it all in.

The extended peninsula at At Man’s Image will include a little seating and greenery, making it the fourth new place to sit for a spell since PARC took over in 2011. That includes the fountain, the Mifflin Triangle and the gateway.


24 thoughts on “Improvements being finalized for wonky intersection at 12th and Passyunk

  • April 21, 2015 at 9:26 am

    This is great news. This intersection is a canyon to cross. Between these improvements and construction getting going on the corner of 12th and Morris, this will become a much more attractive block in an already great neighborhood.

    • April 21, 2015 at 11:08 am

      but what about the parking? where will I park when i want to go sit at the new benches outside of a man’s image?

      • April 21, 2015 at 1:09 pm

        Well, there are two rivers to choose from 🙂

      • April 22, 2015 at 2:36 pm

        Leave your car in the suburbs. This is the city.

  • April 21, 2015 at 11:17 am


    I’m going to commit ritual suicide.

    • April 21, 2015 at 4:23 pm

      LOL. Thanks for the laugh.

    • April 22, 2015 at 8:38 am

      As if driving is the only mode of transportation ever. Jeez, how did human survive for all those thousands of years without them?

      • April 22, 2015 at 2:15 pm

        You are making comments based on the weather today… When it snows and they plow mountains of snow on top of your beloved peninsulas, get at me…

        • April 22, 2015 at 3:05 pm

          The idea is to channel traffic better and give people a better idea of what is going on in an intersection that makes zero sense to the untrained eye. People are not going to hang out on the “peninsula” or care whether or not there is snow on it.

          • April 23, 2015 at 12:54 pm

            Look both ways before you cross the street… No? You gonna really argue with “look both ways before crossing the street”? Costs us nothing if people would just do that. These projects work better on bigger and busier streets like Washington Ave, Delaware Ave (Columbus Blvd), Oregon Ave, Pattison Ave… These tiny one direction roads shouldn’t need this. They’re not as “canyon” like as the streets I’ve just named.

            They’re building peninsulas and pointless dirt islands (like at 16th & Passyunk) while the streets are littered with potholes and the playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball courts, etc are all cracked and in dire need of resurfacing…. This is a fact. This is happening. I’m sorry to be the one to point it out. I know I’m the one everyone loves to hate. But ya gotta open your eyes and recognize the absurdity some times.

            Now go ahead with the snarky rebuttals… “The only absurdity is….” Go ahead. Discard the points I’ve made and hit me with the un-clever snark of a bratty 8th grader.

            • April 23, 2015 at 12:58 pm

              Whatever… Go head. Build the thing… Just remember… Every “improvement” we build, is another “improvement” we have to maintain… And we can’t even keep the roads paved and the parks in good condition.

              • April 24, 2015 at 1:28 pm

                what in God’s holy name are you blathering about?

              • April 27, 2015 at 12:19 pm

                This investment is a huge maintenance saving in the long run. Cars and trucks do far more damage to streets than people walking do. After the improvements are done, there will be less space for cars and trucks to damage and more for people to enjoy.

    • April 22, 2015 at 10:13 am

      This intersection is less than 100 feet away from a giant municipal parking lot.

  • April 21, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    This is great news!

    Does this include additional lighting on the 12th St side of a Man’s Image? As a resident on that street, it’s dark/dreary at night and unsafe (its a very long stretch of light-less concrete slab). If they are already adding lighting by extending the peninsula, this should definitely be part of the plans.

    Also, is there any news on a tenant for the Man’s Image location yet?

    • April 24, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      There were benches at Abe’s they had gangs of juveniles hanging out bothering everyone. Also a hangout at night with lots of loud commotions.

  • April 22, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Peninsulas on narrow streets like this are nothing more than training wheels for people who can’t walk city blocks like people have been able to do seemlessly for hundreds of years….

    • April 22, 2015 at 3:04 pm

      Um, no

    • April 27, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      Hundreds of years ago there weren’t heavy speeding metal boxes flying down the streets endangering our lives, so walking in the street was no big deal. Now there are, so traffic islands and curb extensions give us more safe spaces to walk while forcing those heavy metal boxes to slow down and look out for us.

  • April 23, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    That’s the right attitude. “Don’t build anything nice, because then we’ll have to work to keep nice!”
    Your true colors show through. This is why you stuff trash down the sewer…

  • April 24, 2015 at 10:47 am

    TO BOB april 21, comment

    take the bus, get rid of the car, I gave up my car over 20 yrs. ago and feel so, so, relieved !!! Philly is so walkable–one reason why I have been trying for over 5 yrs. to move there; however, with so much gentrification going on, wonder if I can afford. Sorry Philly has been re-discovered !! too bad for old me !!!

  • April 25, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    When I was a kid back in the 60’d there WAS sort of an island here. There was a stone water trof for the police horses to drink out of. I livein the 1700 block of Passyunk till 1968. Hopefully it will stop the red light running almost everyone does.

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