Planned Pedestrian Crossings move ahead in Mt. Airy

by Walt Maguire
Posted 7/16/21

While finding parking along Germantown Avenue will always be difficult, it will soon be easier to walk the avenue in Mt. Airy.  

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Planned Pedestrian Crossings move ahead in Mt. Airy

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While finding parking along Germantown Avenue will always be difficult, it will soon be easier to walk the avenue in Mt. Airy.  New pedestrian crossings are planned at the intersections of Durham, East Gorgas, Carpenter/Meehan, Pelham/Slocum, Phil-Ellena, Hortter, Tulpehocken, and East Cliveden Streets.

A controlled crossing is one with a red light or other signaling system for safety. Mt. Airy’s stretch of Germantown Avenue has historically been short on these. The longest uncontrolled section of road is from Sedgwick  to Phil Ellena Street, a distance of  2,060 feet without even a stop sign.

The proposed crossings will include “bump-outs” that will increase pedestrian visibility and shorten the length of the street crossing. For corners that do not have a traffic light, there will be a Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacon (RRFB), which can be activated by the pedestrian to create a strobe light flashing pattern to get the attention of motorists. RRFBs have had encouraging results; research shows that motorists comply with these much better than conventional beacons. There is already an RRFB at Duval and Germantown, installed separate from this project.

“Making the Avenue safe for pedestrians has long been a priority for the Mt. Airy BID and its business and property owners,” said Ken Weinstein, President of the Mt. Airy Business Improvement District. “We want to do everything we can to make doing business, shopping or dining out as easy and safe as possible for our customers and employees.”

The bump-outs will sacrifice some parking spaces nearby corners, but there is an expectation of increased safe foot traffic. The avenue extends over two miles through Mt.Airy

The Mt. Airy BID has engaged transportation engineering firm Gannett Fleming for the project.  Gannett Fleming presented their plans at a meeting June 10. A public presentation will be scheduled for October. If things stay on schedule, construction will likely begin in Spring 2024.

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