It’s much easier, apparently, to have a ribbon cutting on a shared use path than on a truck route. But yesterday’s event on the South Bridesburg section of the East Coast Greenway was widely celebrated by local officials as the opening of the Delaware Avenue Extension: a bypass under the Betsy Ross Bridge that is already diverting truck traffic from busy Richmond Street between Allegheny Ave./I-95 and Orthodox St. It is purportedly the first public road built by the City in the last 30 years (although one could point to new minor streets that were built in the Navy Yard and elsewhere after 2000).

But there were plenty of accolades to go around for the newest link on the Circuit and the East Coast Greenway. As Delaware River City Corporation (DRCC) Founder and former Congressman Bob Borski noted: “Who would have thought 20 years that we would be cutting the ribbon on a trail in this part of the City.” The Delaware Ave. Extension seamlessly extends the Port Richmond Trail into Bridesburg, eliminating one more barrier, the ramps of the Betsy Ross Bridge on Richmond St for Northeast Philadelphia bike commuters.

The Streets Department is moving into phase 2 of the Delaware Avenue extension. This project will further extend the trail through a new Bridesburg Waterfront Park between Orthodox and Buckius St.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2017.

Meanwhile the DRCC is pressing on full steam ahead. The next section of the Kensington and Tacony Trail should go under construction in the spring. DRCC has already completed the Baxter Trail from Pennypack Park to the Mt. Pleasant Fish Hatchery that includes a bridge over Pennypack Creek. However that trail will not be able to fully open until the Philadelphia Police Academy reconstructs the berm that separates the trail from the firing range sometime next year.

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