City to River Connections Underway

The city is continuing progress on better connections to the waterfront with three major focus projects currently in the planning phase and nearing construction of continuous phases.  These project will tackle improved pedestrian and bicycle access, lighting, landscaping and signage.  The three focal corridors are Race Street Connector, Columbia Avenue Connector and Spring Garden Street Connector.

Race Street is the project that's farthest along, with the south side portion of the project already completed.  Planning for phase II is underway, and it's been considerably more complicated.  PennDOT and the city's transportation and utilities department have agreed that a multi-purpose sidewalk/bike path can cross over the I-95 on ramp that compromises the project.  Perhaps a traffic light will solve the problem.

Design work for the underpass section of the Columbia Avenue Connector, which will link Fishtown to the waterfront, has been completed by Studio Bryan Hanes.  Designs have been given to PennDOT, but due to a long bidding process it will take 18 months to 2 years before we see any changes.  The design includes LED lighting and decorative imprint in the concrete.  Underpasses at nearby Marlborough and Shackamaxon streets will get the same treatment. The section of Columbia between highway and Penn Treaty Park includes landscaping and a public art component.

Spring Garden Street, connecting Northern Liberties to the waterfront.  Discussions have been ongoing concerning placement of bike lanes as well as the crucial redesign of the entry ways and egress to the subway station. Redesign is crucial to the success of the connector as well as nearby future development, including plans to attract mixed-use development to the Festival Pier at the foot of Spring Garden.

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