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Looking east on the north walkway of the Ben Franklin Bridge.

So long for now, north walkway.

This Tuesday the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) will switch bicycle and pedestrian traffic back from the north walkway to the south walkway. This marks the completion of the 60 day shutdown period for the eastbound PATCO tracks. Walkway users will once again enjoy easier bridge access from 5th St and will no longer experience the claustrophobia of the 30″ wide cattle chute on the bridge’s north side.

Meanwhile, a new interim PATCO schedule will allow bikes on PATCO trains any time except for:

Thursday and Friday, 3:45 – 6PM Eastbound

Thursday and Friday, 6:45 – 9AM Westbound

This is because PATCO will operate on a single track with a special schedule between 10 AM on Thursday and 6 AM on Monday morning. The Monday to Friday bike restrictions will return for the second 60 day shutdown period in September, when construction crews will shut down the westbound tracks on the Ben Franklin Bridge. That shutdown however will not affect the operation of the south walkway.

Consider the previous 2 month detour to be a training session for the construction of the South Walkway ramp. When that occurs (tentatively planned for next year) the south walkway will be closed for at least 9 months.

John Boyle


John has been a commuting cyclist for more than 20 years. In 1994 he began working as a volunteer for the Bicycle Coalition of the Delaware Valley after attending a volunteer night, and later served as a board member in 1997-98. In 1999 John left Philadelphia for Charlottesville, VA, where he helped establish the Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation (ACCT), a bicycle and walking advocacy group.

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