Thursday, September 25, 2008

Breaking: City Agrees To Much Improved Design For The South Street Bridge

Remember the situation regarding the critically flawed, auto-centric design of the new South Street Bridge? Well, the work of the South Street Bridge Coalition over the past several years seems to have paid off. They have achieved a significant victory in securing a much more pedestrian-, bike- and city-friendly design for the new bridge.

The city recently agreed to amend the bid package that was sent out to prospective contractors — they’ve now included an addendum of design changes to the bridge that will significantly improve the bridge ability to smartly fit into the seamless urban context of a more livable Philadelphia.

Here’s the statement from the Coalition:
We are pleased to inform you that the City of Philadelphia is releasing an addendum to the bid package for the South Street Bridge Reconstruction Project. This addendum includes many of the changes that were agreed upon by the City of Philadelphia and the South Street Bridge Coalition:
  • Vehicle Lane Design – A four-lane traffic design will replace the five-lane design.
  • Crosswalk at Schuylkill River Park – An additional crosswalk with a pedestrian activated traffic signal will be added at the ramp and stair from the Bridge down to the Schuylkill River Park. The traffic signal will be portal mounted above the roadway. The curb ramps at this crosswalk will be widened to 6-ft. on both sides of the Bridge to allow multiple bicyclists to simultaneously cross and access the bicycle lanes.
  • Speed Limit – The posted speed limit for the entire Bridge and viaduct will be reduced to 25 MPH.
  • Bicycle Lanes – Bicycle lanes have been widened as a result of the reduction in the number of vehicle lanes.
  • Advanced Bicycle Stop Bars – Bicycle stop bars will be advanced to allow bicyclists to get ahead of motorists for greater visibility and safety.
  • Lighting – Pedestrian style lights will be installed. The majority of the bridge lighting will be sidewalk mounted at the curb. All light standards will include mounting brackets for future banner placement.
  • Signal Timings – Traffic signal timings have been optimized for pedestrian movements and safety.
  • Reflective Pavement Markers – Reflective pavement markers will be installed at the curve on the east side to improve roadway visibility.
  • Sidewalk Surface – The sidewalks will be scored and tinted to resemble grey slate pavers.
  • Roadway Surface – The roadway will be tinted to resemble asphalt.
  • Guiderail – Decorative vertical elements will be added to the sidewalk side so that the railing appearance is more pedestrian friendly.
In addition to the above agreed upon changes, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) has received funding from PennDOT to undertake a traffic study to determine how traffic is dispersed during the Bridge closure.
Center City Residents Association President Vivian Seltzer called the news “a wonderful and optimistic message that projects which are initially misinformed can be transformed — with the proper leadership and spirit.”

We’d like to agree with her.

Well done to all those involved.

South Street Bridge Reconstruction Project [ ]

Confidential To Mayor Nutter: Support The Modified + Improved South Street Bridge Design
The South Street Bridge Is Not Completely Lost Yet

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