Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Walnut Street Bridge Bike Lane Closed For New Construction

Work begins today on the Walnut Street Bridge Gateway Project. This project is the most significant change since the opening of the "modern" Walnut St Bridge in 1990. The bike lane is closed, and is expected to be closed for the duration of construction (until August or September).

BCGP's proposed configuration of the intersection of Walnut St. and Schuylkill Ave. This is not the final concept drawing but some of our suggested changes made it to final design.

During the construction period the bike lane on Walnut Street will be closed. The current timeline forecasts the completion of the project and reopening of the bike lane in August or September. Walnut St will remain open to vehicular traffic including bicycles. The streets department has installed detour signage guiding bicyclists to the South Street Bridge.

What's being done? One of the four travel lanes will be eliminated and the sidewalks on both sides will be widened from 8 to 12 feet. Other improvements on the Bridge will include pedestrian scale lighting and signing enhancements. For bicyclists, the highlight of the project is the reconfiguration of the intersection of Walnut St and Schuylkill Ave which will mitigate the dangerous conflict zone where right-turning traffic currently weaves across the blue bike lane to get to I-76.

This project is the second of  the 8 TIGER projects to go into construction. Late last year work began on the pedestrian bridge from Schuylkill Banks to Schuylkill River Park at 25th and Spruce over CSX tracks. Next month two more projects will break ground: the 58th Street Greenway project, and the streetscape/bikeway improvements to Pearl St, Pine St, and MLK Blvd in Camden.

Freedom of Choice - Detour and Share the Road signs for the Walnut Street Bridge.


Anonymous said...

I don't see this as an adequate improvement over the existing design. Please consider reading this recent entry from David Hembrow's blog, where he discusses problems with bike boxes and adjacent right turn lanes.

Anonymous said...

man, this sucks

ha256 said...

It looks like they are trying to improve the landscape for bicycles, but it looks like the people doing the construction are still less than concerned about bicycles.

Why preserve that left parking lane over the bicycle lane? When car lanes are affected, they temporarily eliminate parking. Why not do this for bicycles?

Andrew J. Besold said...


Thanks to the link to Hembrow's blog article on his opposition to bikeboxes. It's very interesting to see David, who is antithesis of the "vehicular cyclist" zealot come out against bikeboxes.

I really don't like bikeboxes either because they encourage cyclists to come up on the right side of vehicles that could start turning right as the light changes. Right hooks are a leading cause of deadly crashes particularly when there large vehicles involved. In Europe, bikeboxes come with advance lead signals for bicyclists to clear the box and the lane just behind it before the cars start moving. This critical detail was omitted when bikeboxes were first introduced in North America.

At least many jurisdictions are starting to only use bikeboxes when there is no potential conflict, like when the cross street is a one-way going to the left.