New Chestnut Street crossing under construction | The Triangle

New Chestnut Street crossing under construction

Photo by Alex Everett | The Triangle

Construction is underway for a new mid-block crosswalk with a traffic light on the 3200 block of Chestnut Street, outside the Handschumacher Dining Center. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is executing the project with 100 percent federal funds on behalf of Drexel University. The project’s expected completion date lands before fall term. According to a Drexel statement, a direct connection between the Korman Quadrangle and the new crosswalk will be established where Theaster Gates’ sculpture “Monument in Waiting” currently stands west of Stratton Hall. The work is currently on loan; the connection will be built after 2026 when the sculpture loan ends. 

The mid-block crossing formalizes a well-established jaywalking spot. It appears the crosswalk will be raised and signalized akin to the crossing at 32nd Street and Lancaster Walk. Raised crosswalks have been widely recognized as an effective traffic-calming measure by reducing vehicle speeds and increasing pedestrian visibility. According to the Federal Highway Administration, raised crosswalks can reduce pedestrian crashes by up to 45 percent. The flush surface also offers the benefit of ADA accessibility without typical curb cuts. The new crossing guarantees to protect students who may otherwise cross Chestnut Street illegally and unsafely. 

As part of state highway Pennsylvania Route 3, Chestnut Street through University City is managed by PennDOT and not the Philadelphia Streets Department. The work on this intersection has been contracted to JPC Group, Inc., a local construction contracting company whose prior work includes the Frankford-Trenton-York roundabout in the Fishtown neighborhood.

The project is listed on the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s site as being funded by the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program. The TA Set-Aside Program is a federally-funded initiative supporting community-level access improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and transit users in the Delaware Valley region. For fiscal year 2023, $1,000,000 was allocated towards the TA; the cost of this individual crossing remains unclear. Raised intersections can vary widely in cost, but average close to $50,000, according to a study conducted by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center. More information is likely to become available as construction progresses throughout the summer.