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Philadelphia Parks and Recreation has announced that the Wissahickon Bridges have reopened to bicyclists and pedestrians.

Four bridges in Wissahickon Valley Park in Northwest Philadelphia had been closed after the most recent person driving a minivan plunged off Lincoln Drive and slammed into it.

“The City of Philadelphia closed the bridge, made repairs, and determined it is now safe to use,” the press release stated.

A common occurrence on the Drive, the bridge has received the brunt of vehicular carnage, especially over the last few years, after Lincoln Drive was repaved. Repaving the Drive has apparently allowed motorists to gain even more speed on this 25-mile per hour road.

What it looked like after the closure.

When this most recent crash occurred, the vehicle was abandoned and left in the park for a week before being cleaned up.

This is good news — especially in our current era of forced social distancing. More people are trying to get some physical activity in, and parks and trails are the best place to distance ourselves right now.

Before reopening the bridges, cyclists were being asked to take a street detour up through Germantown and East Falls to get back on the trail — an unrealistic route for anyone other than seasoned cyclists and commuters. People using the park had instead taken to biking and walking on Lincoln Drive, which is a recipe for disaster.

Unfortunately, additional maintenance is scheduled to occur on the bridges, again, later this year. At that point, the Bicycle Coalition intends to advocate for a reasonable path for pedestrians and cyclists.

In the meantime, go enjoy the outside, and make sure to get six feet of social distance between yourself and the next person.

Randy LoBasso

Author

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

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