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On Tuesday, Philadelphia Traffic Court officials announced that they would allow pedestrians to cross the street, a move many advocates said was long overdue.
Pedestrians must have the right-of-way to cross intersections, and they can’t block the flow of traffic, but pedestrian crossings were not a common sight in Philadelphia until the city’s pedestrian and bicycle laws were implemented.
For years, the city had a strict no-policing policy, which restricted pedestrians to sidewalks, bike lanes and crosswalks only, and banned all pedestrian crosswalts in most parts of the city.
Philadelphia has now lifted the ban.
The city’s Department of Transportation says pedestrians can cross the streets “in the safest way possible.”
The change came after the city Department of Public Works and other city departments reviewed data that showed the number of pedestrians in the city tripled in the last 10 years.
“I think we need to give people the space to walk across the street safely,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.
“We’re seeing a lot of people walking through traffic and then, when they cross, it’s not necessarily safe.”
A spokesperson for the Philadelphia Department of City Planning and Development told the Associated Press that they are in the process of reviewing pedestrian crossings in the new design.
Pedestrians will still have to use sidewalks, but it will be safer.
Pedests are allowed in certain neighborhoods, including the University District, but the number is limited.
The department said they’re looking at the area around Penn Station and the South Street Seaport for pedestrian crossings.