Monday, March 31, 2014

Impact of CHOP Expansion Upon South Street Bridge on Meeting Agendas This Week

Recently news broke of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)'s plans to build a new building adjacent to the South Street Bridge on the east side of the river. The building will impact the bike lane and sidewalk on the bridge.

CHOP's proposed expansion at 700 Schuylkill Avenue is going to be reviewed at two public meetings this week. On Tuesday, April 1st at 1 pm, the project will undergo a Civic Design Review (CDR) at the Philadelphia City Planning Commission (1515 Arch Street). On Wednesday, April 2nd at 5:45 pm, CHOP will present to the South of South Neighborhood Association Zoning Committee at the Philadelphia School's new addition (2501 South Street, aka the new complex across 25th St from the liquor store).

We are concerned about how this project will impact bicycling and walking on the South Street Bridge. The South Street Bridge is the most biked and walked bridge in Pennsylvania, and bicycle and pedestrian safety must be prioritized in any changes that are proposed for the bridge and its bicycling and walking facilities.

Under the City's existing Complete Streets Policy, full consideration to the accommodation of the safety and convenience of all users must be made, and the safety of those traveling in the public right of way shall be prioritized. It goes without saying that "all users" includes bicyclists and pedestrians.

CHOP has already presented several versions of plans on its proposed impact to the bridge, and it is expected to announce new plans this week. We will review those plans and work with CHOP and the City's Streets Department to find a solution that provides the highest protection for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Disclosure: CHOP's Vice President for Government Affairs, Peter Grollman, serves on the Board of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.


Aaron said...

I can't make this meeting tonight, but I would appreciate it if you would express a cycle/ped concern on my behalf around the interaction (or lack thereof) with this development and the Schuylkill River Trail.

CHOP gives a little nod to the SRT by holding out the carrot of extending down to Christian. However, they follow it with a huge slap in the face by not only providing severely limited access to the trail, but by imposing a huge wall barring any further interface.

CHOP wants to make the same mistakes that were made on the Delaware by ignoring it's riverfront posture and turning its back on what could be a vibrant waterfront corridor.

Please express not only my concern, but the concerns of all SRT users who will be literally walled off from the adjacent neighborhoods.

mcget said...

Don't let Childrens Hospital CHOP the South Street Bridge bike lanes!

CHOP wants to get approval for their tower/parking garage on the east side of the Schuylkill, this week on Tuesday, 15 April. CHOP's plan calls for 250-1000 parking spaces--even though they say most staff will use transit, bike, walk. To handle all those cars, they want to put two big dedicated driveways right across the bridge pedestrian sidewalks and bike lanes. The result will help CHOP if they later decide to push their real estate plans for hotels and other car-intensive businesses. But children, the elderly, and especially pedestrians and cyclists will suffer from the increase in carcinogenic pollutants, noise, and death/injuries from auto crashes. This does not seem compatible with mission statement of Children's Hospital.

The South Street Bridge is Philadelphia's best span for biking and walking. The CHOP project, which puts private auto traffic first, will ruin the bridge for green commuters. Worse, by creating a car-centric, single-use space along the east bank, CHOP will stall the lower Schuylkill's revival for decades to come. CHOPs own spokespersons admit that most of their staffers will have to commute by transit--still, they've dedicated nearly 75% of the project's footprint for parking and moving automobiles. They've rejected community requests for a real street frontage with retail and pedestrian access, and are unwilling to guarantee access to the riverfront bike path--even though they are receiving funding from local and regional government.

Find out more here:

and here:

and here:

MONDAY, APRIL 14 IS IMPORTANT--it's the last day before CHOP meets to get variances.
IF CHOP's request for a zoning variance is approved, they can do anything they want on this industrial-zoned site, with no further oversight or cooperation with the community, the Mayor's Office of Transportation, or the Bicycle Coalition.

CALL OR EMAIL City Councilman Kenyatta Johson : (215) 686-3412 ;, and email the Mayor: --ask them to set a continuance and NOT APPROVE CHOP'S zoning variance. This will give the community a chance for a better plan, one which offers a real streetscape, not thousands of cars, riverside surface parking and a blank parking garage wall and massive driveways along the bridge.

EMAIL the Bicycle Coalition and ask that the Coalition testify against approving the project this week. Thanks and please make those contacts on Monday, 14 April.

Michael McGettigan / trophy bikes /