Earlier this week, we shared a picture of the construction going on on the South Street Bridge — and people seemed pretty excited about it.
— Bike Coalition Phila (@bcgp) June 15, 2016
In the image, vehicular traffic and bicycle traffic is separated by bollards mounted into a durable curb to create a safe space for cyclists during construction on the bridge. This solution creates a safer space for cyclists than just lined paint.
When we first reported this physical separation on the bridge, we noted it was temporary with the construction. This is a construction detour that was done right.
But here’s the other thing: We can now say that this solution is not temporary. Post construction, 200 feet of delineators will be installed on the Bridge in advance of the upcoming driveway into the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s building to prevent right turns from drifting into the bike lane.
This solution was confirmed by the Philadelphia Streets Department today, and was arrived at through negotiations between Bicycle Coalition, James Campbell, the City and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for the nearly two years. We are pleased that this solution was agreed to by all parties as it will provide additional safety for bicyclists passing in front of the new driveway. However, we note that neighborhood still remains concerned about other traffic issues.
As those who’ve ridden the South Street Bridge know, CHOP is opening a new building with a garage alongside the bridge, on the east side.
In order for workers to get to the building, the city is cutting into the bridge and creating a driveway. The delineator posts will go as far as that driveway, where there will be a new coordinated traffic signal (timed with the 27th Street signal), and crosswalk. The final bridge will have two lanes of vehicular traffic, two bike lanes and two signals at the mid-block crossings.
According to the Streets Department, it’s possible that there may be a few closures between 11pm and 5am during construction, but the bike lanes will always be maintained. CHOP is responsible for maintenance during the construction period, which is expected to last until September.
Most information on how this project came about and our submitted information requests can be found on our old blog. This project was never ideal for bicyclists, or for the City as a whole. But we believe the solution put forth will make all road users safer and is much, much better than leaving the east bound bike lane impacted by the driveway unprotected.
This solution can be looked at in the greater context of how the city relates to bicyclists. In 2015, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia called upon the Kenney Administration to install 30 miles of protected bike lanes during their tenure — something he and his administration have agreed to.
And our 30 miles included the South Street Bridge.
Additionally, earlier this week, the Bicycle Coalition, 5th Square PAC, Fairmount Bicycles owner Shelly Salamon, and Deputy Managing Director Clarena Tolson held a rally for new protected bike lanes in the city.
While there, David Curtis of 5th Square handed Deputy Managing Director Tolson pages containing 1,000 signatures from Philadelphians who support new protected bike lanes in the city.
And this summer, construction will be complete on Philadelphia’s first parking-protected bike lane in Northeast Philadelphia, a project supported through talks between the Bicycle Coalition, the Streets Department, and Councilman Bobby Henon.