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Bicycle Coalition

 

A horrendous crash on Lincoln Drive last weekend closed the Wissahickon Trail—but it is been inspected by the city, and has been reopened.

Last weekend, the driver of a motor vehicle crashed through the guardrail at a curve on Lincoln Drive, sending their car off a cliff and slamming into a bike/ped bridge on the trail.

We’ve been told the driver of the vehicle is OK.

But since the driver’s car hit the bridge, city engineers had to go out to assess the damage and make sure it’s still safe to use.

Bicycle Coalition

Photo taken first weekend of January 2019, found on Friends of Wissahickon Facebook page

The Streets Department told us on Tuesday afternoon that the bridge was inspected, is safe, and has been reopened. This comes as a relief to the many Philadelphians who use the trail for commuting and recreational uses throughout the year, and the Friends of the Wissahickon.

“FOW strongly supports swift action from the City of Philadelphia to ensure the continued use of this key segment of the Circuit Trails for commuter and recreational traffic,” the organization told us early Tuesday.

And yeah, the bridge reopening is great. But there’s also the issue of Lincoln Drive itself.

The City and PennDOT are in the midst of a $12.1 million project to help maintain Lincoln Drive. Some of those changes include new barriers in the median, a short side path, and resurfacing.

Unfortunately, as we wrote last year, these improvements aren’t going to be enough to stop incidents like the person in their motor vehicle that crashes through a guardrail and spills into the woods.

Lincoln Drive, before the resurfacing project, was in bad shape, full of potholes. And while that wasn’t ideal, tt’s likely people were driving slower along the Drive, which is well-known for speeds high above the 25 mile per hour speed limit, to avoid the bad surface conditions.

As a Northwest Philadelphia resident, I regularly notice people racing at highway speeds, at least double the limit.

And now that Lincoln has been repaved, drivers may begin feeling more comfortable driving even faster than they’d been over the last few years.

Nothing is being done on Lincoln Drive to deal with the speeding issue. Speed cameras are still illegal on this street, and local police are not legally allowed to use radar to catch those drivers speeding through Northwest Philadelphia.

Additionally, while some improvements were proposed last year for the northern section of Lincoln Drive, which goes through a residential neighborhood, many of those improvements were rejected by neighborhood residents due to the potential loss of parking on the shoulder.

Randy LoBasso

Author

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

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