Sunday, February 21, 2010

New stairwell and bicycle "trough" opens on Schuylkill Banks

After being cordoned off for months, the stairwell connecting JFK Boulevard down to the Schuylkill River Trail path opened on Friday, February 20th.  The stairs are part of the rebuilding of the JFK Bridge, a PENNDOT project.  Problems with the railing were the reason for the long delay. 

What do you think of the bike "trough?" Leave suggestions/opinions as a comment.


Andrew said...


Jonathan Bringhurst said...

I love the new stairs in that location.

To be honest, I see the trough as a bit of a safety hazard since most people expect the steps to extend all the way across. From the picture, it seems like people might be inclined to take a bad step on that. However, I'm not sure if this issue has been addressed since I haven't seen the stairs in person yet.

Also, I think I would still end up shouldering my bike instead of putting it in the trough. I'm not really sure tho.

It's a very nice experiment. I'll be interested in seeing how people use it.

Dan said...

Like Jonathan, I suspect that I would just shoulder my bike. It may be useful for smaller bikes (or folding bikes) that are difficult to shoulder.

Todd said...

looks good to me. I think that it will be good for folks with heavier bikes that are hard to shoulder. I don't have much occasion to go onto JFK from the path, but I will have to give it a test drive next time I am riding by really heavy rain bike beater.

Andrew J. Besold said...

I know those in charge of this project meant well but I really don't find these stair ramps all that useful, along with many others that I've seen in the US.

First, the rise of conventional stairs, like these here, are much too steep to push a bike up or down while being able to maintain control. In Europe where such accommodations are commonplace, the rise of the stairs is purposely not as steep and the ramps are actually an integral part of the stair design. Then again, the need to retrofit bicycle stair ramps are rare since most stairs that may need to accommodate bicycles are designed from the beginning with a bicycle stair ramp (Wow! What a concept!).

Second. The ramp only accommodates lefties going up and righties going down. I don't know about you but being right-handed I always push my bike with it on my right side and do not feel comfortable pushing it on my left particularly when heavily loaded. A simple remedy would be to put a ramp on both sides but then there probably isn't enough room for pedestrians.

Still, all-in-all, I guess it's the thought that counts but I won't be using these ramps when I'm in town.

Jon said...

I like it. I've used the trough on the Ben Franklin, which was probably put in as an afterthought, and it was helpful. Especially when other people are on the stairs when shouldering can cause awkward conflicts.

Peter said...

Much better than the bicycle ramp on the BF Bridge steps as the trough will hold the bike in position and all you have to do is brake or push depending on the direction.

Way too steep for pushing a heavily loaded bike up, and not enough room for panniers on one side. However, if my bike was loaded like that, I'd get off the trail before this point - there still are street level exits, no?