Fix It: The Terrifying Unmarked On-Ramp Near Eakins Oval
The unmarked on-ramp on 24th Street in Philadelphia is a death trap. I mean, look at it on the right.
Located alongside Eakin’s Oval on the Parkway, the I-676 entrance is inappropriately and dangerously labeled “24th St.” That’s it. There is no sign nearby indicating that an expressway is right around the corner.
“Someone in a car or on a bike could easily think this is a local street or maybe a winding entrance into a gated community,” said David Curtis, co-founder of the urbanist PAC The 5th Square. “Then it suddenly dumps you onto three lanes of freeway traffic.”
What’s even crazier is that there is a bike lane approaching the entrance, and yet there is nary a sign near the on-ramp stating that cyclists should steer clear of the area.
Curtis said he has accidentally gotten onto 676 at this entrance as a driver, and that he knows plenty of others who have as well.
@5thSq @PlanPhilly @RideIndego I've made this mistake in my car. What would it take to get better signage there?
— Abby Thaker (@abbythaker) July 13, 2015
Randy LoBasso, communications manager for the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, said he has talked to cyclists who have almost accidentally gotten onto 676 at this location. The coalition is calling for officials to install a no-bicycle sign as well as a “To 676” sign near the entrance. That sounds like a good and relatively simple fix to us.
LoBasso said this is especially important for the city to do now, since it recently launched a bike-sharing program.
“There are a lot of new cyclists and people who will be using bicycles who are not necessarily familiar with all of Philadelphia’s streets,” he said.
A video of two bike-share cyclists riding on 676 went viral earlier this week. Although the bikers couldn’t have gotten onto the highway at the 24th Street entrance because they were going westbound, their mishap drew attention to poor on-ramp signage throughout the city. PlanPhilly highlighted a few areas — the 24th Street onramp included — where it’s easier to accidentally get onto the highway than you’d think.
Amazingly, both the city’s Streets Department and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said they have not previously received complaints about the onramp near Eakin’s Oval. But there’s good news: Officials said they are now looking into the matter.
“There is an I-676 East shield sign on the Art Museum Circle approaching 24th Street to advise drivers to turn right on 24th Street to access I-676 East,” said PennDOT spokesman Eugene Blaum. “The department will examine additional signing needs for this ramp.”
Denise Goren, director of policy and planning at the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, also said, “We are looking into this since we have more people on bikes.”
We’ll keep you posted on what the authorities decide to do to fix this problem — and we’ll bug them if they don’t.