Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ben Franklin Bridge Assault Rattles Bridge Walkway Users

Tuesday's violent mugging of an off-duty Philadelphia Homicide Detective on the Ben Franklin Bridge walkway has touched some nerves and caught the brief attention of the Philadelphia Media.

Many of us are scratching our heads wondering how some thug was able to assault an off-duty police officer and then managed to escape Andy Dufresne style by to bicycling halfway down the bridge through the 3 foot wide cattle chute, walk down 3 flights of stairs and traverse a 200 foot long fenced in walkway to get to Camden. For all the sophisticated cameras going in place perhaps a few good old call boxes (like those going in at PATCO stations) would have allowed DRPA Police to stop this guy at the gate.

In Today's Daily News reporter Ronnie Polaneczky wrote a scathing article that questions the decisions made recently by DRPA. And brings back the old argument that perhaps the Authority's spending was a bit misguided:

This year, DRPA will spend $11 million on, among other expensive things, the President's House memorial near the Liberty Bell, a restaurant in Franklin Square, building demolition in Camden and the Lights of Liberty show.

All worthy endeavors. But no more worthy than the security measures that Anastasi and the nondriving constituents he represents wish were in place, right now, for walkway commuters on the Ben Franklin Bridge.

As Matthew Anastasi states in the article the Bicycle Coalition has been advocating security cameras on the walkway to improve security which along with a remotely operated gate would allow 24 Hour Access.

UPDATE - A sketch of the Suspect has been released:

Sketch of Suspect who was riding a powder blue bicycle with very thin tires.

Age: 25-30 YRS
Race: White or Hispanic
Sex: Male
Height: 5'5" to 5'7" -/+
Complexion: Olive
Build: Stocky
Hair: Brown curly Unkept


Anonymous said...

That's my Philadelphia! Off-duty cops mugged and the criminal disappears. Meanwhile available public money is spent on fireworks and restaurants.