Report: Philly area bridges are bad for bicyclists

benjamin franklin bridge
The Benjamin Franklin Bridge is the only bridge spanning the Delaware River bicyclists can actually ride across. (Credit: Rikard Larma / Metro).

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia on Thursday released an analysis of bicycle and pedestrian access to area bridges spanning the Delaware River.

The report, “Crossover: Bridge Ahead Impassable,” found only five of 12 bridges studied were accessible to bicyclists or pedestrians, stunting burgeoning alternative transit networks in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

“Municipalities on both sides of the river are investing heavily in better and safer bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure,” Bicycle Coalition Research Director John Boyle said in a statement.

“But the benefits of these networks are stymied by bridges which, somewhat ironically, serve as barriers to connection.”

Of the five bridges where bicyclists are allowed, access is further limited by other restrictions.

For example, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge is the only bridge bicyclists are permitted to actually ride across, rather than walk their bikes to the other side.

Still, the report notes the Ben Franklin lacks directional signage, has no plan for snow removal, doesn’t have a clear method for rider to connect to bike lanes on either the Philadelphia or Camden, N.J. side and is only open to pedestrians and bicyclists from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the spring and summer and from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the fall and winter.

“The ‘Complete Streets’ concept driving much of this investment does not exempt bridges,” Boyle said.

“Traveling from Pennsylvania to New Jersey should not require immediate automobile access, especially when communities on both sides of the river are seeking to facilitate cross-river access to drive economic activity.”

Bicycles are totally banned from the Betsy Ross, Commodore Barry and Walt Whitman bridges, with the report calling the failure to include a pedestrian or bicycle path in the ongoing redecking of the Walt Whitman “a missed opportunity.”

The reports recommends retrofitting bridges with accommodations for bicyclists and pedestrians when they undergo major rehab projects and collaborating between transit agencies, police departments and taxi operators to provide reliable transportation services over bridges where bikes aren’t allowed.

It also urges all bridges open to bicycles connect on either side with bike lanes, sidewalks and major trails.

“As far as we know, this report is the first comprehensive examination of bicycle-pedestrian access across the Delaware,” Boyle said.

“Our region needs more travel choices between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Bicycling and walking are already legitimate and important transportation options for people traveling between both states.

“Whether for commuting or recreational purposes, by itself or combined with mass transit, regional planners are responding to demand by emphasizing bicycle access on both sides of the Delaware. This emphasis extends to pedestrian access as well, as the same infrastructure typically supports both modes of travel.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Local

African couple claiming misidentification in robbery case to…

At a bail hearing today for Vickson and Lorfu Korlewala, charged in the robbery of an 80-year-old woman, bail was reduced from $1 million total to $500,000.

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.