April 23, 2013
Another student is hit at 38th and Spruce Street last Tuesday making this the 5th accident in this intersection this semester.
College sophomore and Daily Pennsylvanian photographer Rafiat Kasumu did not actually witness the accident while crossing 38th street but did look at the scene after hearing a person next to her gasp.
The victim was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania as a result of the accident. According to Kasumu, the student was walking in the direction of Wawa from the southwest corner of the intersection.
A car attempted to turn right in order to avoid waiting for students to cross the street. The victim was the only one hit in a large group of people who were crossing. At first, the car tried to keep going but another student was able to chase it down. The victim was able to stand up but was crying and appeared to be in shock.
This is the 5th accident to occur in 2 months. During this time period six people including 4 students have been involved in accidents in this intersection. According to a campus study conducted in 2009 by Facilities and Real Estate Services and DPS the intersection has proven to be problematic in the past and has submitted 9 recommendations for improving safety and traffic flow in the area.
According to Architect Mark Kocent, Principal Planner for the Office of the University, only one of those recommendations has been implemented. The city has added pedestrian countdown signals which were installed when the study was published.
A report put together by engineering firm Orth Rodgers, Inc state that “pedestrian safety is a critical issue” at 38th and Spruce Streets.
Unlike other campus intersections like 34th and Walnut Streets, DPS does not have any patrols deployed at the intersection during peak traffic hours. DPS has not commented on whether they intend to put officers at 38th and Spruce.
The Pennsylvanian Department of Transportation is the agency in charge of the streets while the City of Philadelphia Streets Department is in charge of traffic signals. The University only has to power to lobby the city to make changes at the intersection. Both agencies have not commented on this issue.