Wednesday, January 10, 2007

South Street Bridge Meeting Observations

A neighborhood meeting discussing the construction of the South Street Bridge was held in the basement of a church, with about 100 people attending. There were 3 minimalist displays and a PowerPoint presentation.

There were complaints that the Streets Department did not provide enough information and neighbors are concerned about the highway feel of the design of the new bridge. Bicycle Coalition member David O. describes the mood of the meeting

"What started out as a civil meeting turned into shouting and frustration on all sides. At the end there was little to suggest that we were in a sanctuary. Council members were not present but will be contacted by some of the disgruntled. There were signup sheets to organize neighbor meetings and mobilize some form of protest."

Give the Streets Department credit for allowing the Bicycle Coalition to comment on the process fairly early on. We did not get everything we wanted but we fended off attempts to mix bicyclists with pedestrians, and the South Street Bridge will have bike lanes and a connection to the Schuylkill River Trail however the intersection with the Schuykill Expressway will still pose a hazard to bikes and pedestrians.

Stay tuned also check out Inga Saffron "Skyline Online" blog for new posts regarding the meeting.


Anonymous said...

As a bike commuter for the last 25 years, I am surprised to see the statement that the Bicycle Coalition "fended off attempts to mix bicyclists with pedestrians."
I have a problem with mixing bikes with multi-thousand pound vehicles. In some European countries the bikes are separated from the vehicles, and to a lesser-extent from pedestrians in what I think is an ideal approach.
Is this a speed issue? That bikes can go faster with auto traffic. If so, I would gladly trade the risk of death or maiming for slowing a bit.

John Boyle said...

The design would not have reduced conflict with automobiles.

Bicyclists would have been required to exit the sidewalk on a ramp before the Schuylkill Expressway interchange, in conflict with right turning vehicles and then merge back again with pedestrians on the shared walkway only to be dumped back into traffic and the end of the bridge.

To see the conflict location go to: