Wissahickon Path Reopens After Terrible Lincoln Drive Crash


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.

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.

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Topics: Biking in Philly, Crash, Featured, Vision Zero

5 comments on “Wissahickon Path Reopens After Terrible Lincoln Drive Crash

  1. Owen Sindler Reply

    Unfortunately, one more example of lack of traffic enforcement in Philadelphia. What will it take?

  2. James C. Walker Reply

    It is likely the posted limit is set well below the safest 85th percentile speed level which would reduce crash risks and get high (85%) voluntary compliance.
    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

    • Jimbo Jones Reply

      Mr. Walker, have you ever driven on this particular stretch of Lincoln Drive?

    • TB Reply

      Have you driven Lincoln Drive? If no, then your response is without merit. I use to drive Lincoln Drive to/from Jenkintown daily. I avoid it when I can due to how curvy and narrow it is from City Avenue to the neighborhood. Plus, Philadelphia Area Drivers rarely drive in response to the conditions of the road, let alone the design of the road and where it cuts through. PAD’s also like to ride bumpers at high speeds as well as during terrible weather conditions.

      The 85th Percentile only works on highways/freeways or other similar road designs. The speed limit for residential roads cannot be set based on your blanket response. It is simply reckless and irresponsible. The road/lane designs should be reassessed based on what we now know about the conditions surrounding certain crashes (a high number in a small area/same location).

      Example: The initial southbound stretch of Lincoln Drive should be a single lane until it reaches the wide straightaway where you can get off at City Ave, go straight to Kelly Drive, or get off at Ridge Ave.

      -I’ll respond to comment replies as I find time.

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