Philadelphia street signs are different than in much of the country.
For example, there’s no downtown. Locals call that part Center City. If you’re driving, and I wouldn’t suggest tourists do, look for Central Philadelphia.
Jan. 28, 2017: On I-676 (the Vine Street Expressway), just past the Broad Street “Central Philadelphia” sign. I was in an Uber, headed for my former job, when I took this picture of snow for the station’s website.
Something I just learned has to do with arterial streets. They’re noted on street signs. The city, which has grown a whole lot in area since what’s now Center City over the centuries, is certainly not a square, rectangle, circle, or any other recognizable shape — which is why arterial streets didn’t seem to make sense for those of us who look into things.
Turns out, I and many others thought too much. The city’s Streets Department says it has to do with closing roads for block parties, which is fairly common here! This website notes (somewhat redundantly):
Arterial streets cannot be closed for street events. These are streets with multiple bus routes, trolley routes and trackless trolley routes. Arterial streets are typically two way streets that carry 800 or more cars an hour and serve as the go-to streets for first responders racing to emergencies or hospitals. Closing of arterial/high volume roads causes difficulty for the motoring public and could affect our emergency responders when called upon. These roads carry volumes up to 800 vehicles an hour. Pushing this amount of traffic into smaller residential streets, which are not designed for these volumes, can have a detrimental effect on the quality of life for these blocks.
Like elsewhere, the city warns:
When snow accumulations approach emergency status, the Managing Director may declare a snow emergency. Once emergency status is declared, the City’s 110 miles of Snow Emergency Routes receive priority. Owners of vehicles and dumpsters must move them to alternate parking spaces so City forces can clear snow from curb-to-curb on the emergency routes. Any vehicle remaining on a Snow Emergency Route during the declared Snow Emergency will be ticketed and towed. If your car is towed, call 215-686-SNOW for its location. Do NOT call 911.
(The website has the final two sentences in bold.)
An interesting factoid says:
The Traffic and Lighting Unit is responsible for all traffic control devices on surface streets and replacing bulbs illuminating allies in” Philadelphia including, “approximately 360 miles of State Highway, 2,575 miles of city streets, over 2,950 signalized intersections, over 3000 all-way stop intersections, and over 15,000 conventional stop intersections. The Unit handles a wide range of requests from parking concerns on the smallest local street, to the safe, efficient movement of over 95,000 vehicles a day on a 12-lane Boulevard with 60 signalized intersections.
However, â€œTo request a â€˜Curb Your Dogâ€™ or â€˜No Litteringâ€™ sign, contact PMBC (the Philadelphia More Beautiful CommitteeÂ -Lenny) at 215 685-3981. For temporary â€˜no parkingâ€™ signs, contact 215 686-5525.â€
But you can ask for a fix. According to the Streets Department, “Traffic control signs are designed to direct, inform, prohibit, and warn vehicles of possible danger. To report a missing traffic control or street name sign, or to make another traffic control sign request, please fill out the information below.Â School Flashers are considered traffic control signs so should be entered on this form.”
But itâ€™s this article from today that got me thinking. Leave it to a Philadelphia local to alter a “lane shift” signal for drivers. Philly.com reported, the “profane street signÂ hadÂ beenÂ gaining some notoriety on social mediaÂ since at least September,” and finally, “The sign was taken downÂ Tuesday.”
Stay in yo lane. pic.twitter.com/cucRtObDPo
â€” Idris Phlegmba ðŸ‡ðŸ‡¹ (@GeekMeDwn)October 11, 2017
The vandal may have a point. Thereâ€™s construction everywhere and we wonder when itâ€™s ever going to end.
Lane Shit pic.twitter.com/3C0l3ITNyr
â€” ryanvis (@ryanvis) November 2, 2017
In Philly for #PAXUnplugged. Very concerned about lane shit. pic.twitter.com/ibhVvlriKv
â€” The Miki (@MikielleBell) November 17, 2017
That reminded me of a picture covering a construction zone I took back on Sept. 20, 2016 â€” only because a graffiti artist had already gotten to it!
It covered the rubble that the cityâ€™s famous LOVE Park (aka JFK Plaza), across from City Hall, had become. You may have guessed, itâ€™s â€œmost noteworthy for Robert Indianaâ€™s â€˜Loveâ€™ sculpture,â€ according to the tourism folksâ€™ website. It was installed for the countryâ€™s bicentennial, removed two years later and put back permanently two years later due to public demand. Or so we thought.
The city promises, â€œThe sculpture will undergo restoration, including being repainted â€¦ and will be restored and reinstalled in its original location at LOVE Park in early 2018.â€ Thatâ€™s already behind schedule.
By the way, the AMOR statue still stands nearby at Sister Cities Park. It was put there for Pope Francisâ€™ Sept. 2015 visit.
And part of LOVE Park finally just reopened despite the construction as part of the cityâ€™s annualÂ Christmas Village.
Click here and here to see some old, unique Philadelphia signs that are mainly for businesses, rather than the road.
Back to the topic on hand, if you really want to experience strange driving, hop over one of the Delaware River Bridges and try to make a left turn in New Jersey. Youâ€™ll find it impossible on hundreds of semi-major roads. This website explains jug handles.
Then, of course, thereâ€™s Florida. Last week, President Donald Trump had arrived in Palm Beach County, en route to Mar-a-Lago for Thanksgiving. On I-95, which he had to cross from the airport to the resort, The Miami Herald reported, â€œTwo people got out of their car and began twerkingâ€ and called it â€œan only-in-South-Florida moment.â€
In case you missed this, hereâ€™s the highlight of the night: I was stuck off an exit in West Palm Beach, waiting for dickhead @realdonaldtrumpâ€™s off-to-play-golf-once-again motorcade to pass. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Probably 35 minutes. Then THIS gem happened … pic.twitter.com/A5s7K3p3US
â€” Jeff Pearlman (@jeffpearlman) November 22, 2017
At least we in Philadelphia know what to expect. Except construction ending.
And I have to show, publicity at the Wells Fargo Center during my extended familyâ€™s Thanksgiving weekend visit to see the Sixers beat the Magic, last Saturday night.