Camden residents and Market St business owners saved a plan for a two-way Market St between downtown and the waterfront. The preferred option known as Alternative 5 would convert Market St to a two-way street with a westbound bike lane from Broadway to Delaware Avenue. There is a general consensus that two-way urban streets contribute to the livability of neighborhoods by slowing down traffic and improving access.
On February 17th Camden COMMUNITY Partnership presented on the final design decision for Market St. This final meeting was called after residents and business owners were concerned after a new proposal called Alternative 7 was being circulated for businesses to sign on to. Alternative 7 proposed a one-way Market but with the inclusion of bike lanes. You can read all about the controversy in this opinion piece from Inga Saffron in the Inquirer.
During the meeting, Alternative 7 was never really mentioned. Camden County Chief Traffic Engineer Kevin Becica cited that while Alternative 5 met the needs of the community the traffic modeling suggested increases in travel time. Regardless of how you interpret that perceived problem (Is traffic delay more important than pedestrian safety?) the modifications added to Alternative 5 preserved the two-way Market Street configuration. The new design changed Federal St to become 2 westbound lanes and one eastbound lane. The bike lane between Delaware Ave and 3rd St remained in the plan.
The proposal will now move to City Council for approval and if approved will then move forward into final design. It is currently anticipated that construction could begin in 2024.
Congratulations to all the stakeholders who kept the goal of a healthy Market St in mind. It is hoped that the upcoming Camden Active Transportation Plan will provide guidance and end the ambiguity of deciding where to put bicycle and pedestrian facilities. To remind everyone of how far we came take a look at Alternative 1 which was quickly rejected.