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Image credit: Marco Smolla, via Twitter

As we reported last week, another vehicle slammed into the Wissahickon Bridge along the trail next to Lincoln Drive, closing the bridge for the foreseeable future.

The bridge, which closed on February 28th, remains closed and, unfortunately, we do not have information on when the bridge will be back open. Please make plans to use the detour routes in the meantime.

Image via Friends of the Wissahickon

Speaking from personal experience (I commuted along the path for 18 months), the least bad route may be Walnut Lane/Houghton/Ridge Avenue if you plan to continue commuting via Northwest Philly. Walnut Lane has a buffered bike lane and Ridge has a climbing lane.

As we’ve noted, the closure due to out of control motorists along the recently repaved Lincoln Drive ‘Vision Zero’ project has had a severe negative impact on bike commuters and people using the path for recreation. We have heard stories of cyclists using Lincoln Drive (which, to be fair, was inevitable) and even heard stories of people walking on Lincoln Drive to get around the bridge.

We absolutely do not recommend anyone get on Lincoln Drive, whether via bicycle or on foot.

Although the speed limit is 25 miles per hour, the Philadelphia Police Department does not enforce in the area and drivers regularly drive double that limit, if not more. Lincoln Drive was repaved over the last year, but repaving seems to have had a detrimental effect, making traffic-calming pot holes smooth and giving drivers the opportunity to pick up even more speed than they had before. The section of woods below guide rail and wall along the curve where the bridge is closed is a graveyard of car parts and obliterated street infrastructure caused by speeding vehicles.

Since the bridge was closed, commuters and recreational cyclists have been left surprised — to say the least — when coming upon the bridge.

We hope to hear good news soon about what is happening. This recent crash has ruined commutes for virtually all people who ride into the city from Northwest Philadelphia on the Wissahickon Trail, and those who use a bicycle, or walk, for recreation along that trail. 

We are still waiting for official plans from the City as to what the future plans for the trail are. We will keep our audience updated.

Randy LoBasso

Author

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

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