You may notice some sidewalk construction in Francisville this month.
Some areas of sidewalk in the neighborhood are cracked or noticeably missing, with pebbles and grass peeking out from beneath the snow. But several streetscape projects are currently underway to fix the problem.
The Francisville Neighborhood Development Corp. and People for People Inc. noted the need to promote the neighborhood as walkable and pedestrian friendly in the development plan entitled “Moving Francisville Forward: A Blueprint for the Future.”
A transportation and access study of North Broad Street submitted to the Philadelphia City Planning Commission in 2007 also calls the Francisville intersection of Broad Street and Girard Avenue “very complex” and in need of adjustment to become friendlier to pedestrians and motorists.
Notable sidewalk damage is a clear roadblock to the promotion of the neighborhood as “walkable.” It also presents potential public safety issues for what the 2007 transportation study calls the “large elderly population” in the area surrounding the Broad Street and Girard Avenue intersection.
Residents have plans to work with the city to expand the streetscape project by lobbying to include it in the capital budget, said Penelope Giles, president and founder of FNDC.
Proposed streetscape expansion goes beyond sidewalk construction to include the addition of street lights, waste and recycling bins and decorative landscaping.
Planting trees, grass and other landscaping elements as part of the streetscape plan isn’t just about making the sidewalk look pretty, Giles said.
“Increasing permeable surfaces in the neighborhood is very important when it comes to managing storm water,” she said. And storm water management is a big issue in Francisville, like in many Philadelphia neighborhoods.
Construction has yet to begin on the expanded Francisville streetscape. But for now, be on the lookout for sidewalk construction projects in the neighborhood along the Broad Street corridor.