PHILADELPHIA, PA — City of Philadelphia, U.S. Senator Bob Casey, the School District of Philadelphia and the North10 Philadelphia community-focused foundation recently announced the $25 million U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grant to install six North Philadelphia school slow zones.
The City’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability (OTIS) and the Department of Streets will lead on the North Philadelphia School Zones Traffic Safety Project.
The organizations will collaborate to plan, design, engineer, and build slow zones around six schools: the Julia de Burgos Elementary School, the Kenderton Elementary School, the KIPP Philadelphia Elementary Academy, the Mary McLeod Bethune School, the Pan-American Academy Charter School, and the Potter-Thomas School.
“Every student, their families, and school staff deserve safer ways to get to school,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “The North Philadelphia School Zones Traffic Safety Project will reduce speeds, enhance the experiences of people walking, biking, rolling, and taking transit to school, and overall make neighborhood streets in North Philadelphia safer for all road users.”
Senators Bob Casey and John Fetterman, and Congressmen Brendan Boyle and Dwight Evans secured the $25 million in RAISE Grant funding from the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act, which is commonly called the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Nationwide, 70 percent of RAISE Grants are going to projects in regions defined as an Area of Persistent Poverty or a Historically Disadvantaged Community. The North Philadelphia project is expected to cost $29 million, with the additional $4 million set to be funded from the City’s capital budget.
“Thanks to the Infrastructure Investment and Job Act, school zones around six North Philadelphia schools will be safer for students, faculty and staff, and visitors alike,” said U.S. Senator Bob Casey. “Students’ families will have greater peace of mind when they send their children to school each day. Faculty and staff will have safer and more efficient commutes. Because of the infrastructure law, we’re going to keep Philadelphia students safe and keep our communities moving.”
Based on the City’s Neighborhood Slow Zones program, which installs traffic calming measures in neighborhoods, the School Zones Traffic Safety Project will provide enhancements such as:
- Raised crosswalks at Neighborhood Slow Zone gateways,
- Redesigned Slow Zone advisory signage for drivers entering Slow Zone limits,
- Concrete curb extensions at key community locations and at hazardous crossings,
- Continental crosswalks in place of standard crosswalks,
- New Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ramps at multiple locations.
The North Philadelphia School Zones Traffic Safety Project will also be part of the City’s holistic approach of getting students to school safely. The project will also complement Safe Routes Philly, Philadelphia’s youth bicycle and pedestrian safety education program, which is part of OTIS’ Vision Zero program to bring traffic deaths to zero on the city’s streets.
“The North Philadelphia School Zones Traffic Safety Project is part of the City’s holistic approach to getting people to and from school safely, including Neighborhood Slow Zones and Safe Routes Philly,” said Deputy Managing Director for the City’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability (OTIS), Mike Carroll. “The City will work with our North Philadelphia community partners to focus traffic calming around six schools that see high rates of traffic crashes and fatalities.”
Showing the need for traffic safety, from 2017-2021, there were 418 crashes in the project area, resulting in 156 injuries and 3 fatalities, according to an OTIS analysis of PennDOT data.
“Improving safety and well-being for students is the School District of Philadelphia’s number one priority and working collaboratively to identify solutions is the best way to create safer neighborhoods,” said Tony B. Watlington, Sr., Ed.D., Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia. “We are grateful to the City and the U.S. Department of Transportation for partnering to provide safer ways for our students, staff and families in North Philadelphia to get to and from school with Neighborhood Slow Zones.”
The North Philadelphia School Zones Traffic Safety Project will also implement state-of-good repair upgrades such as resurfacing streets, upgrading traffic signals and communications, streetscape enhancements such as planting street trees, and pedestrian enhancements.
“At North10 Philadelphia, we are dedicated to improving life outcomes for North Philadelphia community members,” said Executive Director for North10 Philadelphia, Joshua Klaris. “The North Philadelphia School Zones Traffic Safety Project will support current and future residents to live happy and healthy lives, and enhance safety for hundreds of school students and staff.”
Based on the application, construction is anticipated to start July 2026, with substantial completion of construction expected by June 2028.