No one-way Ellet Street

Posted 6/27/24

Thank you for giving front page coverage to Lincoln Drive traffic safety improvements in the May 16th issue.  

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No one-way Ellet Street


Thank you for giving front page coverage to Lincoln Drive traffic safety improvements in the May 16th issue.  Northwest residents laud West Mt. Airy Neighbors for harnessing the Philadelphia Streets Department and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to make intensive changes for reducing risk to drivers, pedestrians, and property owners along this major Mt. Airy artery.

This is to challenge misperceptions and correct a misstatement in the article's discussion of Phase 2 proposals to change the Lincoln-Emlen-Ellet intersection. 

The article quotes a community leader whose focus is improving pedestrian safety at the existing Emlen Circle, especially for the walking members and preschool enrollees of the adjoining Germantown Jewish Centre (GJC).  My empirical observation is that very few GJC adults and children walk through the Lincoln-Emlen-Ellet intersection when arriving at or leaving the Centre building.  Pedestrian activity by users of the building is well and safely guided by stop signs and striped crosswalks a full block away, at the intersection of Ellet and Cherokee.

The focus needs to be on why the proposed conversion of Ellet Street to a one-way vehicular road would be altogether counterproductive.  As proposed, Ellet Street would become one-way from Emlen toward McCallum.  In fact,  for the past 85 years the majority of automobile users of the Centre building have driven from McCallum toward Emlen. 

The Centre has over 500 members and its building is actively used by vehicle riders seven days a week.   At certain times annually an estimated 200 autos converge at the site.  It would create sheer chaos to require this volume of car traffic to circle through the neighborhood's narrow streets to reach the proposed one-way Ellet Street access.

The Centre also lends its facility for large-scale community use, such as the packed house of several hundred Northwest neighbors who drove to the building to attend last year's public debate between Philadelphia City Council primary election candidates Councilmember Cindy Bass and Seth Anderson-Oberman.

Finally, the community leader is quoted as referring to "the multiple congregations that make up the Germantown Jewish Centre."   Although there are a number of prayer groups, the Centre is one corporate entity with one board of directors and one executive committee.

Charlotte Peitzman

West Mt. Airy