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September 11, 2023

Construction to add protected bike lane on Walnut Street will start this week

Traffic will be restricted to one lane between 33rd and 63rd streets from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for most of the week

Transportation Streets
Walnut Street construction Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

A protected bike lane, like the one pictured above along Chestnut Street, will be installed on Walnut Street this fall as part of a road safety project in West Philadelphia.

Construction crews will begin work along a 30-block section of Walnut Street on Tuesday as the city continues a two-year project to improve road safety in West Philadelphia.

Walnut Street will be reduced to one lane of traffic between 33rd and 63rd streets from Tuesday through Friday, Sept. 15 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said. Other periodic closures or detours are expected during the project, which will run through the fall.

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The first phase of construction will involve milling, or grinding down the surface of the road by about 2 inches, to make space for a fresh layer of asphalt and smooth out the street. Repaving will then begin on or around Tuesday, Sept. 26 and continue through Friday, Sept. 29. Once that work is complete, roadway markers and pedestrian areas will be repainted and new crosswalks and a protected bike lane will be installed.

The construction is part of a wider street safety project targeting sections of Chestnut and Walnut streets in West Philadelphia. Under the city's Vision Zero program, which aims to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030, both roads are considered "high injury network corridors," meaning they experience higher rates of severe crashes than the average Philly street. Between 2016 and 2020, there were 643 crashes and 137 pedestrians struck by vehicles along these roads.

After conducting public surveys in 2021, the city's streets department repaved Chestnut Street between 34th and 63rd streets last summer and extended the parking-protected bike lane that ended at 45th Street. Now, similar work is coming to Walnut Street.

When the construction is complete, Walnut Street will have two driving lanes, a parking lane on each side of the road and a bike lane. Pedestrian areas will also be expanded in some sections by painted "bump outs" to decrease crossing distances.

The city says it's seen results from past projects. After the protected bike lane was added to Chestnut Street between 34th and 45th streets in 2017, total crashes in the area decreased by 12% and injuries declined by 40%.

This story has been updated with new lane closure times from the city and PennDOT.

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