Grid Readers Respond: what are the worst intersections in Philadelphia?


How does the Philadelphian cross the road? It isn’t always easy or safe. Dangerous intersections mean bikers, pedestrians and people with disabilities risk life and limb to simply get where they’re going. The risks they take are apparent in death and injury statistics — 49 pedestrians and cyclists were killed in 2021, according to the most recent Vision Zero report — as well as the daily experiences of Philadelphians. We asked Grid readers which intersections in Philadelphia they thought were the worst and then asked an expert, the Bicycle Coalition’s Nicole Brunet, for her ideas for how to improve them.

Penrose Avenue/20th Street/Moyamensing Road/Packer Avenue/I-76
Submitted By: Adrian Lowman
Location: South Philadelphia
Primary Transportation Mode: Bike
THE PROBLEM: “It’s kind of like a pinch point for anyone not driving because 76 cuts you off to go through the smaller streets. So you have to go that way, and it’s just super fast. All those roads converging makes it a pain to use.” THE SOLUTION: “Because of the number of lanes going through this intersection, a roundabout, currently being designed by the Streets Department, will greatly increase safety for all users. Roundabouts help keep traffic moving while also slowing drivers and reducing the number of potential conflicts. It’s not a perfect pedestrian or cyclist solution because a roundabout works best without traffic signals, but it helps increase the visibility of pedestrians and cyclists by reducing crossing distances and slowing drivers.”

North Sixth Street/I-676 Offramp
Submitted By: C.W. Gillespie
Location: Center City
Primary Transportation Mode: Walk/Bike
THE PROBLEM: “If you’re going down North Sixth Street, you end up walking several blocks before you realize you’ve been trapped in an area where there’s no way [to go] except back to get south of the bridge. I don’t know why they haven’t realized that this is a problem, but there’s no sidewalk on one side of the street, and on the other side of the street there’s no crosswalk.” THE SOLUTION: “The most simple solution to the conflict zones created by Vine Street and 676 would be to remove the sidewalk between the 676 off-ramp (northeast corner of Franklin Square) and have all pedestrians walk on the east side sidewalk until Callowhill Street. A long term solution may be to remove the Vine Street local loop altogether to eliminate the slip lane [a lane that lets motorists go from one street to another without stopping], which would improve the pedestrian and bicycle facilities.”

22nd Street & Winter Street
Submitted By: Inga Saffron
Location: Logan Square
Mode of Transportation: Bicycle
THE PROBLEM: “When I’m heading south from the Parkway, I usually turn onto 21st Street, then make a right on Winter Street with the aim of continuing west to 23rd Street and the entrance to the Schuylkill River Trail. Even though there’s a westbound lane on Winter Street and a crosswalk, the light there doesn’t allow you to continue naturally across 22nd. That’s because they built a highway offramp there and eliminated a piece of Winter Street. Basically you have to do a little jog to get to Summer Street, and then 23rd.” THE SOLUTION: “An easy way to make this intersection safer would be to move the stop bar [white line on the pavement telling cars where to stop] back at 22nd Street and add a bike lane through the intersection to Summer Street so bicyclists could more easily navigate to 23rd and avoid the 676 off-ramp on Winter Street.”

11th or 12th Street/Vine Street
Submitted By: Benjamin Baker
Location: Eraserhood (Callowhill neighborhood)
Primary Transportation Mode: Manual wheelchair/car
THE PROBLEM: “The vast majority of the time that I cross Vine Street — regardless of what block it is east of Broad Street — I’m taking the street rather than sidewalk because the sidewalk is not really safe for me to get up and down the curb cutout. My suspicion is that the city is [wary] about spending the money to review the curb cutouts on any of those intersections because not a single one of them has been redone in the 13 years that I’ve lived here.” THE SOLUTION: “This intersection is part of the Chinatown Stitch, [the City’s proposed project] in which I-676 would be capped. There are three options currently on the table. In the third option, Vine Street’s local traffic would run onto the cap, which will reduce traffic speeds and allow for a short cross-distance compared to the existing layout.”

Benjamin Baker does his best to get across Vine Street safely. Photo by Chris Baker Evens.

Fairmount Avenue/Kelly Drive
Submitted By: Natasha Tabachnikoff
Location: Fairmount
Primary Transportation Mode: Walk
THE PROBLEM: “There is so much through traffic there. Anytime I go to the trail, it’s just me and a bunch of other people waiting three minutes to cross. The signals are not placed in a way that I think people see the red lights because drivers just drive on through — it’s not the safest.” THE SOLUTION: See 06.

Pennsylvania Avenue/Fairmount Avenue
Submitted By: Kristen Suzda
Location: Fairmount
Primary Transportation Mode: Bike
THE PROBLEM: “The lanes are painted to discourage drivers from treating it as a two lane road. However, drivers treat it as a two lane road, which means that they come over and drive in the bike lane — because paint is not actually protection. It’s frustrating that there’s no actual physical separation.” THE SOLUTION: “For both of these [Fairmount Ave./Pennsylvania Ave. and Fairmount Ave./Kelly Dr.] there are a lot of different solutions that include eliminating lanes [and] creating one way roads. The city is trying to make the oval better for pedestrians and cyclists right now. There are currently a couple of different options on the table [for re-designing the Benjamin Franklin Parkway].”

34th Street & Grays Ferry Avenue
Submitted By: Nicole Brunet
Location: Grays Ferry
Primary Transportation Mode: Bike/walk/public transit
THE PROBLEM: “I think that’s an especially terrible one, partly because there is a bike lane that runs through it and you have a slip lane. And I don’t even know how many lanes 34th Street has, but it is an incredibly dangerous intersection.” THE SOLUTION: “There are plans to add a protected bike lane on Grays Ferry Avenue from Washington Avenue to 34th Street. It’s these areas that have a lot of bike traffic coming through from West Philly and Center City and desperately need protection. To make this intersection safer, engineers should start by removing the slip lanes in the northwest, northeast, and southeast corners of the intersection; this will reduce the crosswalk distance and also force all drivers to stop at the light. Slip lanes are very dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists because drivers move unpredictably through an intersection. By eliminating the slip lanes, you could also remove the furthest turn lane, further shrinking the crossing distance. That space can also be used to further protect bicyclists from turning vehicles. Adding bike signals and priority crossing for pedestrians will help provide more visibility for the vulnerable road users as well.”

West Ford Road/Belmont Avenue/Sherwood Road
Submitted By: Dominique Howell
Location: Wynnfield
Mode of Transportation: Wheelchair
THE PROBLEM: “There is no walkway, so even though it’s green to go, the buses start turning even though pedestrians, like myself (even though I don’t walk) are going. So that is a dangerous intersection for folks with disabilities.” THE SOLUTION: “In order to make this intersection safer, we recommend adding hardened center lines and extending the corners to reduce the crossing distance in order to make the pedestrians more visible and reduce the speed of turning vehicles.”

South Swanson Street/Snyder Avenue
Submitted By: Lauren Bessler
Location: South Philadelphia
Mode of Transportation: All
THE PROBLEM: “It’s terrible for every single mode of transportation, and Philadelphians being extremely self-centered drivers makes it legitimately dangerous at times.” THE SOLUTION: “To improve this intersection, the city should pave over the existing railroad tracks, remove the street parking on this section of Snyder (between Delaware Avenue and Front Street) and add one-way protected bike lanes on each side of the street. Removing parking and adding protected bike lanes will help to slow down traffic because the road will appear less wide and provide safe spaces for both pedestrians, bicyclists and bus riders.”

Cars are going insanely fast while people are waiting at an unprotected stop. There’s constantly broken glass everywhere…”

— Alex Kopp, cyclist and pedestrian

South 47th Street/Paschall Avenue
Submitted by: Alex Kopp
Location: Southwest Philadelphia
Primary Transportation Mode: Walk/Bike
THE PROBLEM: “Cars are going insanely fast while people are waiting at an unprotected stop. There’s constantly broken glass everywhere because there [are] accidents all the time because people are coming off from a highway onto a small residential street. So it’s not designed at all for the traffic that’s happening there.” THE SOLUTION: “There are a lot of diagonal streets throughout the city and they create slip lanes for cars to speed through neighborhoods. To make this intersection safer, the city should eliminate the travel lane on 47th between Grays Ferry Avenue and Paschall Avenue. This would force drivers to turn right at Grays Ferry and Paschall Avenue then turn left onto 47th Street and help to slow drivers. It would also make a more predictable intersection for pedestrians and bicyclists.”


  1. They forgot Lancaster & girard
    Lancaster & 52nd street
    Girard & 34th street at the zoo
    Doesn’t matter if you’re walking, cycling or driving you’re risking your life.

  2. My issue is with broad and vine is that when the pedestrian sign signals it’s safe to cross the opposite traffic light has a yield green light to turn left. I have witness two almost accidents and I was apart of one additional almost accident
    Drivers aren’t paying attention and are under the impression they are only yielding to their opposite traffic

  3. Aramingo Ave at York Street is horrible for pedestrians. Impatient drivers trying to get to I95 or Fishtown Crossing shopping center (a lot to.the Starbucks) seem to completely disregard walkers. Right turn signal from York onto Aramingo to I95 on ramp is yellow at the time pedestrians get the walk signal. Sign says to yield to pedestrians but they never do. Usually takes the full cycle to get any car to yield so I can walk (often with a stroller). Cars also cut through the gas station on the corner to avoid waiting at the light. I have been almost hit a few times. Similar issues at Aramingo and Cumberland where cars often back up from York blocking the intersection. Cars fly around them without seeing pedestrians. Lots of red light runners too. Thompson and Cumberland is also a pedestrian nightmare even with the speed bumps.

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