Wednesday, May 02, 2012

What If The Gray's Ferry Bridge Wasn't Awful To Bike Across? Here's What It May Look Like

Ashley Hahn from PlanPhilly has published a nice two part article this week about the Mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities and the future of Philadelphia bicycling. We highly recommend reading the articles for a good understanding of the operating principles governing when and how MOTU improves the city's bicycling infrastructure.

One highlight of the article is the mention of renovations to Gray's Ferry Bridge. That bridge is currently a poor cycling option for crossing the Schuylkill, but has potential. Modifications to the Bridge and Paschall Avenue would help link the Gray's Ferry Crescent with Bartram's Gardens, and make Gray's Ferry a better cross-river bicycle route from South Philly to West Philly until a new bike/ped bridge is built.

To get an idea of what a revamped Gray's Ferry Bridge lane configuration might look like, here are the designs from our 2010 proposal to the Streets Dept. The Bicycle Coalition recommended putting the bridge on a "travel lane diet" and creating more space for bikes and walkers. The bridge is wide enough to accommodate a two way, multi-use (bikes and peds) cycle track protected by jersey barriers, two travel lanes going both directions, shoulders, and a westbound bike lane next to the north walkway.  We are excited that MOTU, the Streets Dept, and PennDOT are seriously considering this proposal.
Existing roadbed and proposal (click for larger view)
More images from our proposal for Gray's Ferry and Paschall Ave after the jump:

Gray's Ferry Bridge Proposal Images


Steve Stofka said...

This is a good start, but remember 12-ft traffic lanes encourage speeding just as much as 15-ft lanes do. (I would favor a design with 10-ft lanes, but I understand if that's pulling PennDOT's teeth.)

I would suggest making sure that the northbound sidewalk and bike lane are separated (buffered) from traffic as well as the southbound one. Otherwise all non-auto traffic will by choice favor the southbound multi-use crossing.

Sarah Clark Stuart said...

Sarah from the Bicycle Coalition replying. Good points. The northern sidewalk is separated now by a wall and railing. Most likely, the westbound bike lane will remain the same as is, a standard bike lane, not buffered. we'll certainly advocate for a buffer, but PennDOT is sticky about rules for shoulder width, etc.

Philly Biker said...

I cross this bridge often in both directions & I avoid the trash & glass filled shoulders in favor of the regular travel lanes. Barriers will make that worse and make the intersections at the west end more dangerous.

DavidReese said...

(What if it weren't, NM)

Anonymous said...

A separated bi-directional MUP? This seems like a conflict generator, especially with overtaking and intersections. Why the insistence on mixed use? There is already the walkway and little reason to expect an increase in foot traffic.

And what about some of the junction designs? Also, could pressure be put on the recycling facility to sweep its constant mess?

Kate said...

What about a stop light in the middle of the bridge, similar to the South Street Bridge?