Two plans presented for 12th and Passyunk pedestrian improvements

The intersection at 12th, Passyunk and Morris includes everything from newer spots like Bing Bing Dim Sum and Palo Santo Wellness boutique, to longer-standing stores like A Man’s Image, the Dollar Store and Interior Concepts.

One side of the intersection is really far from the other
Photo of the intersection from last winter.

With a lot happening at this intersection, one of the major concerns has been that of safety when crossing these streets. A meeting was held by the East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association last night to discuss the plans for the pedestrian improvements that we’ve been telling you about for some time now.

Approximately 40 people attended the meeting to voice their opinions on the two options which were presented for the intersection. The Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Association, Streets Department, the Commerce Department and the project engineers were at the meeting to present and take questions from the community.

Both options include pedestrian triangles or peninsulas to improve the walkability of the intersection, but along with the improvements, there are still some sacrifices that would need to be made. No matter what is done to this intersection, the main goal is to improve the crosswalk for ADA compliance, upgrade the traffic signals, along with some other greening and streetscape improvements.


Alternative 1 for the intersection includes two pedestrian islands. With this option, 7 parking spots would be lost, but 1 new spot would be added to the intersection.

Alternative 2 includes a similar design, but instead of having two pedestrian islands, there would be one island and one peninsula. With this design, the addition of the peninsula by A Man’s Image would restrict turns from East Passyunk Avenue to 12th Street. Some neighbors voiced concerns over the loss of this turn, which would cause them to drive a few extra blocks to turn right onto 12th. This option would also include the loss of 7 parking spots, but with the addition of 2 new spots.


When the plans were put to a vote, 24 people voted for Alternative 1, 16 people voted for either option, 7 voted for Alternative 2 and 4 people voted against both plans.

Once a plan is decided on, this project should begin in early 2016 and be completed in June, sometime after Flavors on the Avenue. A total of $700,000 funded by the Commerce Department and PARC is expected to cover the cost of these improvements.

24 thoughts on “Two plans presented for 12th and Passyunk pedestrian improvements

  • July 14, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Fingers crossed for #2

    • July 14, 2015 at 11:52 am

      Completely agree – #2

  • July 14, 2015 at 9:52 am


  • July 14, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Was there any discussion about greenscaping the intersection as well?

    • July 14, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      “No matter what is done to this intersection, the main goal is to improve the crosswalk for ADA compliance, upgrade the traffic signals, [[[[[along with some other greening and streetscape improvements.]]]]”

  • July 14, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    That intersection was easiest to cross when the traffic lights were flashing red and yellow a few months back. The traffic was slow and cautious and very respectful of pedestrians while also no one had to wait through multiple light cycles (12th Street).

  • July 14, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    I’m also in favor of Option #2, but will settle for Option #1, if need be.

    I attended the meeting yesterday, and boy did some people “voice their concerns”…more like “belittle anyone in the area who hasn’t lived there for more than 50 years.” The main divisive subject that kept coming up was losing that right hand turn from Passyunk onto 12th.

    Pros for Option #2: will look the most beautiful/nicest; addition of 4 trees; more potential seating areas; safest all-around for pedestrians at that intersection; avoids cars whipping around quickly from Passyunk to 12th if there was that sharp turn in front of the island in Option #1.

    Cons for Option #2: cars will potentially be required to take longer routes; cars may turn left into the PPA parking lot from Passyunk to turn back around onto 12th creating an additional hazard to pedestrians.

    I think we can utilize speed bumps to prevent cars from speeding in front of the island (Option #1) or speeding through the parking lot to make a u-turn (Option #2).

    Rant: As someone who lives extremely close to the intersection, I personally don’t comprehend how going a few blocks out of your way is that big of a deal. If it’s for the betterment of the neighborhood (which it is, even though some people are against gentrification), I think individuals need to make small sacrifices. Good change is not the end of the world and some people in the neighborhood need to learn to respect the opinion of others.

    • July 14, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      Oh, and for those who worry about parking — I don’t because parking really isn’t that bad if you’re willing to accept that you don’t have the right to park directly outside your house at all times — Option #2 loses 1 less net parking spot than Option #1.

      • July 14, 2015 at 4:01 pm

        SM, your face is stupid. So are your ideas. It is my RIGHT to be disagreeable without disagreeing. You are NOT invited to play cards with me and my cranky old lady friends. Take your reasonable ideas and your smug attitude and go build yourself a yuppie roofdeck for you and all your gentrifying friends. And then post about it on that instachat or facegram site.

        But whatever you do, STAY OFF MY LAWN!!

  • July 14, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Losing the turn onto 12th Street sucks. Come on…. Nobody every really expects to park on Passyunk anyway. So the loss of parking here is’t as huge as in other areas. But to completely take away a turning option? That smacks of something New Jersey would do…

    • July 14, 2015 at 6:02 pm


    • July 15, 2015 at 10:29 am

      Sounds like option 1 was the more popular version (turning intact)

      • July 15, 2015 at 4:52 pm

        Agreed. Option 1

    • July 15, 2015 at 12:22 pm

      It does not remove a turning option. There are several alternative routes using different streets to turn back down 12th.

      That being said, the safety of all road users is more important than convenient driving. Alternative 2 is the safer alternative.

      • July 15, 2015 at 2:41 pm

        @Sensible: You hit the nail on the head. There is essentially ZERO reason to come up Passyunk, only to turn down 12th. Unless you live on the 17xx block, in which case, you second point is spot on. Everyone else’s safety is WAY more important than making someone drive an extra block. Or better yet, park and walk the extra block.

      • July 15, 2015 at 4:54 pm

        When you grow up in the city, you learn to look both ways and continue to be alert while crossing. If you have trouble crossing this intersection, find someone who was born and raised here to hold your hand while crossing the street… Option 1 is the more sensible option.

        • July 16, 2015 at 9:32 am

          This isn’t just for the local city dwellers. Passyunk is thriving because of suburbanites visiting and spending money at our local businesses. I live on the 1700 block of Passyunk, and losing that turn isn’t a big deal if it means that intersection will be safer and in turn: look more beautiful, bring in more visitors, give me a spot to lounge, and raise my property value.

          Option 2 is the more sensible option.

        • July 16, 2015 at 10:15 am

          @ Prov: If YOU actually grew up in the city you’d have learned to walk a few blocks…..
          Park your Hummer and get some exercise.

          • July 16, 2015 at 12:00 pm

            I don’t care about losing the turn (I use it all the time, oh well). Would a concern be people making illegal right hand turns on 12 from Passyunk? Yea Yea we want safety, I agree – but if stubborn people continue to make a sharp righty on 12th, could still put people in harm’s way.

            • July 16, 2015 at 4:24 pm

              Might be more trouble than it’s worth. With the bump-outs and angle, mid-sized vehicles might struggle to pull it off without doing a k/3-point turn.

        • July 17, 2015 at 3:32 pm

          this is too funny. most of the “lifers” in this neighborhood are some of the most inconsiderate and inattentive pedestrians I’ve seen in any area of the city. their stupidity is shocking at times.

          so, no, just because you live in the city your whole life does not mean you know what you’re doing.

  • July 17, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Wish I had been there to advocate for option 2. Looking at the diagrams, it seems like we’d sacrifice so much for that right turn lane. The penninsula would be connected, and could be used for more than just crossing the street. The island is…an island. Letting me float out in traffic, waiting for the light to turn. It makes me safer, but the penninsula improves my quality of life, and the quality of life of those in my community. I’m a homeowner on the 1200 block of Takser, so it’s possible that people could use my street as an alternative route to get to 12th. Fine by me. These projects don’t come around that often. Hope we get it right by choosing B.

  • July 17, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    I’m with Richard! These are very rare opportunities to improve the quality of life for the whole neighborhood.
    Do it right!
    Option 2!

  • July 21, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    I am also a fan of Option #2. Peninsulas with curb extensions did wonders for pedestrian safety and community quality at the intersection at 48th & Baltimore & Florence in West Philly. Check out google street view if you’ve never been down there.

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