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Bicycle Coalition

The City of Philadelphia and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation recently unveiled plans for a new park over I-95 in Old City.

This new piece of infrastructure will create 12 acres of green space that will become “The Park at Penn’s Landing.”  As part of this project, Penn’s Landing will be completely re-imagined, in addition, the Delaware River Trail, a new multi-purpose trail will be built from Washington Avenue to Spring Garden Street, and the South Street Bridge (not the other one over the Schuylkill) will be extended.

DRWC has released its preliminary design for bicycle access to and in the park and the South Street Bridge.  On October 17th, they presented an initial concept for bicycle access, based on existing precedent and policy at the Waterfront and in City parks.  They are looking for feedback from the public!

To give feedback, go to the bottom of the survey page and add your comment to the last open-ended box. Keep scrolling for our feedback recommendations.

Bicycle Coalition

A summary of DRWC proposals:

  1. The Park on top of the cap is proposed to be pedestrian only; bicyclists will have to dismount and either park their bike or walk their bike when in the park
  2. Walnut Street east of Front will be closed to vehicular traffic and is proposed to be accessible by bicyclists during non-peak hours of operations, similar to how the current Esplanade along the river is treated.
  3. Chestnut Street east of Front will be a traditional city street that will loop around to Market Street and will have an on-street bicycle facility. Where Chestnut Street “ends” and the park begins to tilt down, there will be access for bicyclists down to the Esplanade during non-peak hours of operations.
  4. Bike access to the park from streets will be at Front Street, the Esplanade, and from Columbus Boulevard at Walnut Street and Chestnut Street via stairs or ramp
  5. The current proposal shows the potential for both stairs and ramps along Chestnut and Walnut Street edges east of Columbus Boulevard. Those have not been designed yet.
  6. The South Street Bridge (currently pedestrian-only) will be extended across Columbus Boulevard
  7. Noise and lighting could be an issue to addressed in the “tunnel” under the cap for bicyclists and pedestrians using the Delaware River Trail; DRWC is looking at design solutions
  8. The current staircase and ramp will remain at Market Street to the parking lots.

The Bicycle Coalition’s position is that bicycle access to this park and in this park should be allowed to accommodate anyone from ages 8-80 using a bicycle.  We believe that additional designs need to be incorporated into the Park and surrounding streets to accommodate bicycling to provide safe access to bicyclists who wish to come to and use this park.

Bicycle Coalition’s comments are as follows:

  1. The Park should have bicycle accessible paths: a) adjacent to the restricted walkways, b) through the park, and c) adjacent to the Esplanade. It’s not right for the project to be designed and built with transportation federal funds that limits bicyclists. Additionally, it’s likely that bicyclists will use the paths despite signs saying that they shouldn’t, and planning ahead for that use makes more sense than asking the public to cope with ignored and unenforced rules.
  2. Bicyclists should have 24 hour access to all streets (Walnut, Chestnut and Market Streets).
  3. The stair access between streets and the Park should be accessible via ADA ramps.
  4. The South Street Bridge’s extension should include a conversion so that the entire bridge accommodates bicyclists and pedestrians.
  5. The tunnel needs lighting and noise mitigation for trail users.
  6. The bike/ped trail in the tunnel needs physical barrier separating it from motor vehicles 

What do you think?  DRWC wants to hear from you.

The best way to provide comment to DRWC is to use this form on DRWC’s website.

Go to the bottom of the survey page and add your comment to the last open-ended box.

Sarah Clark Stuart

Author

Sarah’s foray into trail and bicycle advocacy began in 2004 when she became involved in the “Free Schuylkill River Park” campaign to preserve public access to the Schuylkill River Trail in Center City, now known as Schuylkill Banks. Since joining the Bicycle Coalition in 2006, she has been a key player in the Bicycle Coalition’s key accomplishments: the $23 million TIGER trail-building grant; naming and building out the Circuit; lobbying successfully for legislation mandating the inclusion of bike parking in new construction projects; Philadelphia’s Complete Streets policy; and coordinating research and analysis of several reports on bicycling in Philadelphia.

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