Construction Project Aims to Protect Pedestrians on Roosevelt Boulevard

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    NEWSLETTERS

    One of Philadelphia's most dangerous highways is getting a pedestrian bridge where a deadly accident happened last summer. NBC10's Doug Shimell talks to the family of the victims.

    In the aftermath of several accidents, city officials are taking the steps to protect pedestrians on Roosevelt Boulevard.

    The Philadelphia Streets Department announced the construction of a new signalized pedestrian crossing at Roosevelt Boulevard near 2nd Street.

    Lane closures on the Boulevard between 3rd Street and Mascher Street began on Monday at 8 p.m. The closures will be in effect between 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily until June 27 for construction.

    Officials say notices will be posted in advance of each closure and officers will be on site to direct drivers around the area. Motorists are urged to plan ahead and use alternate routes when traveling in the area.

    The construction project, performed by Seravalli, Inc., will be funded by the Pennsylvania Commonwealth’s “Automatic Red Light Enforcement” (ARLE) program. The new crosswalk is set to open on June 27.

    Over the past few years, several accidents along the Boulevard have brought national attention to the issue of pedestrian and driver safety along the 12-lane highway.

    One of those accidents claimed the life of 28-year-old Samara Banks along with three of her four children.

    Her 5-year-old son Saa-yon Griffin was the lone survivor.

    "Riding by there is hard for him," said Latanya Byrd, Saa-yon's aunt. "But we go to therapy. He does great in therapy." 

    The new pedestrian bridge will be built in the same spot where Saa-yon's family was killed.

    "When I found out, chills just went through my body," Byrd said. "I just felt like something good is coming out of something bad."

    Saa'yon's family told NBC10 the boy had not picked up a picture of his mom and brothers since the accident. After hearing about the bridge however, he reached for one and placed it in his lap.

    "This is a great thing," Byrd said. "I'm so happy because it's gonna save some lives."