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Cotton St. Project

Cotton Street Project : Increase Curbside Parking

In response to the Mayor's request to solve the parking crisis in the City of Reading, we at RPA have been evaluating many options on how to create parking in some of the hardest-to-park areas in the City. Specifically, we have received numerous complaints about the difficulty of parking in Southeast Reading.

We have collaborated with the Mayor's office, Public Works, the police department, the fire department, our traffic and civil engineers, and PennDot to determine the best approach to create more parking in the Southeast section of the City.

Our methodology was to first have our civil engineers evaluate the existing conditions for all of Cotton Street, South Street and Fairview Street. Then we requested our traffic engineers complete a traffic count study at 9th/Cotton Street, the 1500 Block of Cotton Street and the 1500 Block of Muhlenberg Street.

Based on the accumulated data, our Traffic Engineers made a professional recommendation. We are proposing two main changes to Southeast Reading:

1. Transform Cotton Street into a one-way, single-lane road that will travel in a westwardly direction. This will allow for a second parking lane on the north side of the street and possibly allow for a bike lane.

2. Change South Street to a one-way, single-lane road that will travel in an eastwardly direction. Parking will not be impacted on South Street.

I would like to highlight some of the many benefits of these projects:

Cotton St.

• It will provide 180 additional on-street, free parking spaces for residents and local businesses!!
• It will reduce daily traffic volume on Cotton Street by approximately 50%, according to the traffic count study.
• Allowing parking on both sides of Cotton Street will result in an effective traffic-calming measure that will improve public safety.
• There is potentially enough width to include a bike lane on Cotton Street.

South St.

• Reducing South Street to one lane will improve public safety. Under
  existing two-lane conditions, the width of the street varies, narrowing to 13 feet in some areas, making it impossible for two cars to safely pass each other.
• Our traffic engineer recommends that we reduce it to a one-way, one­directional street for safety reasons.


Fairview Street:

• Was also surveyed and evaluated.
• It was determined it is wide enough to support its existing use case.