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September 01, 2023

6 North Philly schools to receive road and crosswalk safety upgrades with $25 million in federal funding

The grant was awarded in June, but its specifics were announced on Friday. The slow-traffic areas will get raised walkways, repaved roads, redesigned signage and ramps

Government Safety
Traffic zone upgrades Tungsten Rising/

A $25 million grant will provide traffic zones surrounding six schools in North Philadelphia with safety upgrades, including raised crosswalks, new slow-zone signage, concrete curb extensions and ADA-compliant ramps.

In June, a $25 million federal grant to improve pedestrian safety was awarded to six North Philly schools. On Friday, Mayor Jim Kenney, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and city officials announced how that money will be spent.

Road and crosswalk safety will be improved at Julia de Burgos Elementary School, Kenderton Elementary School, KIPP Philadelphia Elementary Academy, Mary McLeod Bethune School, Pan American Academy Charter School and Potter-Thomas School. 

The schools will get raised crosswalks, redesigned slow-zone signage and traffic signals, concrete curb extensions, resurfaced streets and ramps compliant with the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act. The project is slated to begin in July 2026, and city officials hope to complete it by June 2028.

Funding comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation through its Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity program, which was announced in June by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. The Philadelphia city budget will provide an additional $4 million for the project, which will be completed in collaboration with the city's Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability and the Department of Streets.

"The North Philadelphia School Zones Traffic Safety Project will reduce speeds, enhance the experiences of people walking, biking, rolling, and taking transit to school, and overall make neighborhood streets in North Philadelphia safer for all road users," said Mayor Kenney.

"Students' families will have greater peace of mind when they send their children to school each day. Faculty and staff will have safer and more efficient commutes. Because of the infrastructure law, we're going to keep Philadelphia students safe and keep our communities moving," said Sen. Casey. 

From 2017-2021, 418 vehicle crashes resulted in three fatalities and 156 injuries in traffic areas that will be addressed by the project, according to city officials.

"The North Philadelphia School Zones Traffic Safety Project is part of the City's holistic approach to getting people to and from school safely, including Neighborhood Slow Zones and Safe Routes Philly," said Mike Carroll, deputy managing director at OTIS. "The City will work with our North Philadelphia community partners to focus traffic calming around six schools that see high rates of traffic crashes and fatalities."