Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Its rare that anyone posts a comment on the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia's blog, even rarer is when a post disagrees with the BCGP, but the rarest of them all is when multiple posts disagree with the BCGP.  On March 21 the BCGP announced the improvements made to the Schuylkill River Trail on the section from the Montgomery County/Philadelphia border to Manayunk.  There were multiple comments made, so we went on a field trip to see if there was a cause for concern.

The Good
Finally the paved section of the SRT along the Philadelphia section was widened from less than 5 feet to 12 feet that matches the rest of the trail and will make for safer experience for all trail users. Also after many years of use and some serious flooding along the Manayunk Tow Path erosion damage and the dilapidated wooden bridges that had become structurally unsound was repaired. The new bridges now have an asphalt ramp at each end to prevent erosion around the immediate area of the bridge.

The Bad
For all of the money that was spent on this massive undertaking something could have done something about the cobblestones that connect the towpath to the Nixon St. Instead we are stuck with the same wheel-sucking, rim bending section that is going to be a problem for every cyclist trying to ride through that area.

The Ugly
In the past the Connection from the SRT to the Canal Tow Path involved exiting the SRT and riding along Nixon St. to the Canal Tow Path. Now there is a 300-yard extension that runs parallel to Nixon and down to the intersection of Shawmont and Nixon. This does make this section of the trail ADA compliant. However every cyclist will come downhill into the intersection and cross on a diagonal, against traffic. Which is compounded by joggers, cyclists, and cars coming around the corner into expected any traffic. Which is an accident waiting to happen. Fortunately you can still turn right before the extension and use Nixon St.

Note the retaining wall that blocks the view of all traffic coming around the corner on the left
One commenter summed it up best: “Not a complaint, but feedback. Everyone LOVES all that was done with the exception of the trail dumping onto Shawmont. It is a somewhat dangerous design by most accounts, and we don't want to some day tell an injured cyclist to stop complaining. “

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