Released: September 29, 2022
Delaware County Council Vice Chair Elaine Paul Schaefer and Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Barry Seymour announced an award for $150,000 to fund a road safety study on Route 291 in Ridley Township, Eddystone Borough, and Chester City. It is one of 13 projects to receive a total of $1.2 million in funding through the Transportation and Community Development Initiative (TCDI), a grant program that supports smart growth initiatives that improve the multimodal transportation network.
The study will identify safety improvements that also positively impact economic development opportunities. Possible improvements include traffic calming elements and more bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
Route 291 is a regionally significant thoroughfare that provides access to residential, commercial, and industrial areas. It’s located within close proximity of I-95, 322, the Commodore Barry Bridge, 476, and the Philadelphia International Airport. It also serves as a primary detour for I-95 and provides access to regional destinations such as Harrah’s Philadelphia and Subaru Park.
Its current design has led to multiple hazards for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Sections of Route 291 have little to no shoulders and there is no middle turning lane. In addition, there are no sidewalks along much of the road and speeding is an issue. There have been hundreds of crashes involving cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists in recent years. Between 2015 and 2019, there were 355 crashes along 291 in Ridley, Eddystone, and Chester—of which: 10 were fatal, 8 involved pedestrians, and 3 involved bicyclists.
The safety issues also make it difficult to accommodate the preferred corridor for the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile trail that connects Maine to Florida.
“This project will help us identify a safe and sustainable path forward for residents and visitors who travel on Route 291, whether in vehicles or by foot or bicycle. In addition, this study will help all of the stakeholders understand the options for incorporating the East Coast Greenway into this important corridor,” said Delaware County Council Vice Chair Elaine Paul Schaefer. “Making the road safer, increasing travel options for residents, improving traffic flow, and building green infrastructure will reduce congestion and air pollution–creating a positive impact on both the community and the environment.”
Now in its 20th year, DVRPC’s TCDI program strives to create livable communities in Greater Philadelphia. It uses federal transportation funding to support planning for local development and redevelopment efforts. The program has invested over $21.4 million dollars and leveraged over $250 million dollars to municipal and county partners.
“The TCDI Program supports local planning efforts that lead to more residential, employment, or retail opportunities; improve character and quality of life; enhance the transportation network; and reduce congestion–ultimately creating more livable communities throughout our region,” says Barry Seymour, Executive Director, DVRPC. “The Route 291 Road Diet Study supports TCDI’s goals, allowing local and county governments to work together to improve their communities, which in turn helps build our vision for an economically strong, sustainable, resilient, and equitable Greater Philadelphia region.”
This year, $1.2 million is being awarded to 13 projects in Pennsylvania through the TCDI program. For more information, and a full list of projects, visit www.dvrpc.org/TCDI.