The Chestnut Street bus lane is now painted red. Can Philadelphia drivers help blocking it?


Bright red just screams “Stop!”

The city is painting the Chestnut Street bus lane between Broad and Second Streets red, an approach studies have found effective in reducing the number of cars and delivery trucks blocking transit buses.

The objectives: less traffic jams in the city center and a faster and more reliable intercity bus service.

“Red makes it much more visible and easier for people to comply with,” said Dan Nemiroff, a transportation planner in charge of SEPTA’s ongoing redesign of its bus network.

“The long-term viability of a transit lane depends on people following the rules and cars staying in their lane, because you won’t have police there 24/7. “, Nemiroff said.

Red or terracotta pavement reduced “vehicle incursions” by 30% to 50% along different routes in cities that used the treatment, according to the National Association of Municipal Transportation Officials.

Police or the Philadelphia Parking Authority can issue $100 citations to block transit if drivers park or use the bus-only lane, said Christopher R. Puchalsky, director of strategic initiatives for the Office of Transportation Infrastructure. and sustainability of the city. Use the red lanes to make right turns are permitted.

The office, SEPTA and PennDot worked together on the painting project. Officials are hoping for many more bus-only red lanes in the city. Current plans call for red lanes on Market Street and JFK Boulevard and a section of West Erie Avenue near Broad Street, but it’s unclear when.

Both OTIS and SEPTA’s strategic plans prioritize more frequent and reliable bus service, by far the busiest transit option in the city.

READ MORE: Did Philadelphia make a terrible mistake in getting rid of the Chestnut Street Transitway? | Opinion

Dedicated red bus lanes have been installed in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle, among other cities. Until late 2019, the use of red paint on streets was classified as “experimental” under federal regulations. The Federal Highway Administration then facilitated its use by local and state governments, based on demand and evidence from previous studies.

Beginning in 1975, much of Chestnut Street was a Transitway, open only to buses and pedestrians. Merchants on the busy shopping road blamed it for hurting their businesses due to lack of parking, and the city began easing restrictions. In 2000, the Chestnut Street Transitway was no more.

Since then, there is a lane reserved for buses. City crews coat it with a durable red epoxy paint that can last up to 10 years.

“This is not a normal Home Depot paint job,” Puchalsky told Fox29 Friday. Have a good day program.


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