DECEMBER 13, 2011. PHILADELPHIA, PA. Bicyclists are emphasizing the need for an access ramp to the Ben Franklin Bridge by riding across the bridge to attend Wednesday's Delaware River Port Authority Board meeting. Upon reaching the Camden side, the cyclists will be forced to carry their bikes down 39 steep steps, using a staircase impossible for most handicapped pedestrians and dangerous for bicyclists.
DRPA's chief executive John Matheussen promised in 2010 that a ramp replacing the stairs would be built in 2012. Wednesday, the DRPA Board will vote on a capital budget that eliminates funding for the ramp.
"DRPA says they are not building the ramp because it isn't a safety issue," said John Boyle, Research Director for the Bicycle Coalition. "How is safely providing access to the Bridge for bicyclists and disabled pedestrians not a safety issue?"
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is urging DRPA to honor its commitments, and serve the needs of Philadelphia and Camden residents, by building the ramp. Besides providing safe access to the bridge for disabled pedestrians and cyclists, the ramp will also turn the Bridge into a link in the region's network of multi-use trails. The ramp is estimated to cost $3.2 million. Meanwhile, DRPA has included $20 million in non-transportation-related funding projects in the same budget.
The bicyclists are meeting at the 5th street entrance to the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia at 8:00 AM Wednesday morning. The riders are expected to reach the staircase on the Camden side at 8:30 AM.
The DRPA Board of Directors meeting is taking place at:
Wednesday, December 14th
1 Port Center
Camden, NJ 08103
There will be photo opportunities on the Camden side of the Ben Franklin Bridge at 8:30 AM Wednesday morning. Parking available on Pearl Street.