Progress continues on three street improvement projects designed to better link Philadelphia neighborhoods with the Central Delaware Riverfront through improved pedestrian and bicycle access, lighting, landscaping and signage.
Delaware River Waterfront Corporation staff and board committee members gave reports on the second phase of the Race Street Connector, Columbia Avenue Connector and Spring Garden Street Connector.
Race Street is the project that's farthest along, with the south side portion of the project already completed. Planning for phase II is underway, and it's been considerably more complicated, DRWC Vice President Joe Forkin said. For one thing, there is currently no sidewalk at all on that side of Race Street from 2nd to the waterfront. For another, any pedestrians or bicyclists brought there would have to somehow get across the I-95 on-ramp.
But Forkin's big Race Street news is that PennDOT and the city's transportation and utilities department have agreed that a multi-purpose sidewalk/bikepath can, in fact, cross right over the ramp. Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler is also a DRWC board member, and she called PennDOT's decision to allow this astonishing. “The fact that PennDOT allowed this is almost beyond belief,” she said.
Exactly how the traversing will happen has yet to be determined, Forkin said. PennDOT asked for a study to see if a traffic signal is needed at the place where pedestrians will cross. “We're doing that now,” he said.
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