There was some confusion late last year after the opening of the Manayunk Bridge: Its gates were closing around 6pm and many trail users didn’t understand why.

In a page we made about the bridge, we noted that since the new Bridge was part of the Parks system, it had to close at dusk. And even at that, officials said they could not even think about keeping the bridge open until it was properly lit. And lighting wasn’t built into the initial funding.

“The bridge has the conduit for lighting, but lighting has not been designed, estimated or budgeted. We also need to think about lighting on the [Lower Merion] side and where that leads to,” Chris Leswing, assistant director of building and planning at Lower Merion Township, told us.

He added: “Lighting on the bridge has two parts…decorative and practical. Lighting on the [Lower Merion] side is for safety. Decorative lighting is expensive and we will need sponsors. A similar coalition of stakeholders that got the bridge approved will be required to work through the details.”

That process has begun.

On February 11, Lessing posted a note to the Penn Bike Commuters Facebook page noting Lower Merion Township and Philadelphia had submitted a joint application for state transportation funds that would light up the Manayunk Bridge.

In response to popular demand, Lower Merion Township submitted a joint application with Philadelphia for state transportation funds to light the Manayunk Bridge. The Township will also be seeking funding from DCNR this year for a Cynwyd Trail Lighting Study. The study will look at the entire trail with a early target of lighting the trail from the bridge to the Rock Hill Road and Barmouth trailheads. DCNR indicated that the Township’s application would be strengthened by demonstrating partnerships. If this group is interested in supporting the Township’s application please contact me for more information.

The application for more lighting on the Manayunk Bridge is a great start. We’re also very excited about the prospect for additional lights along the Cynwyd Trail. If you’re interested in supporting that application, please contact Chris Leswing.

Leswing can be reached at

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