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With new lighting money, Manayunk Bridge ‘to stay open at night’

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The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission announced yesterday it was awarding $7.6 million to 11 Transportation Alternative Program Projects—including lighting for the Manayunk Bridge.

The Manayunk Bridge, which is officially part of the Circuit Trail system in the Greater Philadelphia region, opened in October 2015, and connects Manayunk to to Cynwyd Heritage Trail in Montgomery County. The bridge itself was originally built in 1918, but closed in 1986 due to disrepair. Since being rebuilt, it’s the largest bike/ped bridge over the Schuylkill River, and has been used by thousands of Delaware Valley residents.

But there’s a problem.

The bridge doesn’t stay open at night. Since the trail is part of the parks system, it closes at dusk.

“[Lower Merion Township] parks people don’t start at 6 am or work until midnight when people want the bridge open,” Chris Leswing, assistant director of building and planning at Lower Merion Township, told me in the fall. The bridge was built with the conduit for lighting, but the initial funds did not provide for the actual lights, so the bridge was required to close at dusk, much to the dismay of cyclists around the region.

That may be over soon. The DVRPC’s award will add new, needed lighting on the Manayunk Bridge. $600,000 for the lights, to be exact.

“It’s going to allow the gates to stay open at night,” Kay Sykora of Destination Schuylkill River, told the Philadelphia Inquirer this week. “The moment the gates opened, people were outraged the gates were being shut, there was no way to get across at night.”

As we noted yesterday, the TAP funds will additionally go toward Safe Routes, better bike infrastructure, and projects in the counties surrounding Philadelphia.

For a complete list, check this out.

For more information on the Manayunk Bridge Trail, check out our Manayunk Bridge page

Topics: Biking in Philly, Biking the Suburbs, Featured, The Circuit

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