Friday, March 08, 2013

DRPA proposes three alternatives for Ben Franklin Bridge ramp

This post comes to WalkBikeJersey from our friends at Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and is reposted here with their permission.

On Wednesday the Delaware River Port Authority's Engineering Department presented its preliminary design options to the DRPA Operations and Management Committee.

According to, plans were presented for three design options ranging from a straightaway ramp, a single switchback, or three switchbacks. The estimated costs ranged from $3 million for the single switchback to $3.7 million for the straight ramp.

Image taken from The Inquirer. Credit: Robert West.

The design drawings will probably be presented to the DRPA Board at the March meeting; the options will be presented to the public at some point before the final design is determined.

We (the BCGP and WBJ) favor the straight ramp option although understand why some officials at DRPA have concerns of speeding cyclists. We think there are ways to slow the descent of wheeled vehicles, such as adding a kink at the ramp's midpoint (like the Connector Bridge in Schuylkill River Park). A switchback requiring users to make a 180-degree turn is less desirable but adding a staircase with bike wheel channels on both sides could make this option palatable. We would not support the multi-switchback option unless it was absolutely the only feasible choice.

An interesting point made in the Inquirer article is the possibility of widening the walkway on the Camden side, which narrows to 5 feet as it approaches the stairway. The widening would add a million dollars to the project.

Thanks to years of public support and effort, the walkway ramp is one step closer to reality. We will keep you posted as DRPA begins its public outreach.

Clarification: The proposed bridge ramp would be for the walkway on the south side of the bridge.

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