Last week the Burlington County Bridge Commission restored 24-hour sidewalk access to the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. The narrow walkway on the north side of the bridge has served as Philadelphia’s only nighttime bicycle and pedestrian link to New Jersey for decades. However, in March 2020 NJ Governor Phil Murphy issued an executive order that established a statewide voluntary curfew between 8 PM and 5 AM. The Bridge Commission decided to close the walkway during those hours and the policy remained in effect until September 2nd of this year.

Unlike the Ben Franklin Bridge the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge has no transit alternative. If you were stuck on the Philadelphia side of the bridge Option 1 was to summon an Uber or Lyft. This is not an option for people with bikes or those without a credit card. Option 2 was to take a bus to the Market Frankford El and transfer to the PATCO High-Speed Line at 8th and Market to Camden. Once in Camden you would have to wait up to hour board the 419 bus to Palmyra (the RiverLINE ends service at 9PM). This convoluted route can take more than three hours and requires three separate fare instruments.

On behalf of the Bicycle Coalition and the Circuit Trails Coalition, we want to thank Director Andle and Commissioners Riggins, Nunes and Tiver for restoring this critical bicycle and pedestrian link to New Jersey. Thanks to the County Action Team volunteers Ted Zellers, James Griffin and Jonathan Reuther for taking the time and laying out the case for restoring full access to the sidewalk.

We expect in the next few years bicycle and pedestrian traffic on the bridge will increase significantly with the anticipated completion of the Delaware Riverfront Trail and bike/ped safety improvements on the Philadelphia side. We also want to remind users to walk their bicycles on the bridge sidewalk, on some sections, there is only a low concrete retaining wall between you and speeding truck traffic. The bridge is also a drawbridge and periodically closes for marine traffic a few times a day.

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