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Photo: Leonard Bonarek

If you’re a regular commuter of the South Street Bridge (and we know many of you are), you’ve probably noticed the flex-posts recently installed in front of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s garage entrance are a bit scarce. In fact, they’ve all been either destroyed or severely damaged.

This is not good. The flex-posts were specifically installed because CHOP’s new garage entrance is a hazard to cyclists using the bridge to get in and out of West Philadelphia.

We know you know about it. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia has gotten several complaints about this, especially over the last few weeks. So, we’re told, has the Office of Transportation and Utility Systems.

Given the South Street Bridge is the most-biked bridge in the state of Pennsylvania, it’s imperative these flex-posts be replaced—and protection eventually be expanded for the entirety of the bridge—as soon as possible.

Here’s what happened: CHOP says it was unable to fasten the flex-posts into the bridge due to “structural issues” (that issue being, basically, you can’t crack a bridge), so they were forced to put the flex-posts down with an adhesive.

An adhesive that’s “not been successful.”

Photo: Brian Villa

An order for a new sticking agent and new posts has been sent out. The sticking agent is currently being reviewed by the Streets Department.

Unfortunately, we still don’t know what the timeframe looks like on this. And that is partially because CHOP does not believe they are responsible for the maintenance of the flex-posts.

When I contacted CHOP, I was told the Hospital had committed to installing the “first set of bollards.” (The ones which were shattered.) But from now on, according to CHOP, it’s up to the Streets Department (who chose the type of flex-posts, according to CHOP) to replace them.

We also contacted the Streets Department who said nope, the flex-posts are CHOP’s responsibility. OTIS confirmed as much, too.

Either way, not only is the lack of these flex-posts on the South Street Bridge a safety concern, but the pieces of flex-posts that are still there—literally sharp, twisted shards of plastic—are still glued to the street.

As those who rode the bridge during construction may remember, the protection on the bridge included Tuff Curb, which is not only a stronger option, but involved less maintenance.

This needs to get remedied as soon as possible. It’s important cyclists using this bridge are given the utmost in street safety and not blocked by vehicles in the bike lane, side-swiped by motorists using their cell phones, or the victim of any other dangerous activity.

Randy LoBasso

Author

Randy LoBasso is the policy manager at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.