DRWC to conduct traffic study of Delaware Avenue

Delaware Avenue is in for its first complete traffic study in recent memory.

The Delaware River Waterfront Corp. executive board approved a $100,000 contract to Whitman Requardt and Associates LLP to perform the study, which should be completed by the end of July.

The Wilmington, Del.-based firm will make recommendations on traffic light signal timing along the river, as well as analyze pedestrian and bicycle access at crossings and bumpouts. It will also look at possible options for expanding the walking and biking trail from Washington Avenue up the waterfront ― the trail will run on the east side of Delaware Avenue, but there are some possible choke points that need to be looked at.

And, as Sarah Thorp, manager of the waterfront master plan, pointed out, the study will provide the first detailed look at traffic patterns around the SugarHouse casino site since it opened.

Thorp added that the traffic study is a key missing component of the master plan, which is more than 80 percent complete. (Thorp is also still reviewing cost estimates in the plan.)

The money to pay for the study is coming out of a $5 million grant the William Penn Foundation gave for projects along the river.

The DRWC also approved a $1.2 million contract with Seravalli Inc. to build the Race Street Connector project, which is intended to boost pedestrian traffic to the park at Race Street Pier that’s now under construction.

The board hired a new lead concessionaire for this summer’s events at Penn’s Landing. Frozen Delights of Pennsauken, N.J., which has been a vendor at the site for the past six years, will now be in charge of organizing and obtaining licensing for concessionaires at Festival Pier.

The DRWC expects to get $60,000 from the deal, and Jodie Milkman, vice president for marketing, programming and corporate partnerships, said Frozen Delights has promised to improve the quality of concessionaires.

Joe Forkin, vice president for operations and development, said the company would limit the number of vendors in order to ensure each gets enough revenue to operate.

In other news:

  • The Delaware waterfront might be in for some federal money down the line. The DRWC will be sending a letter of support to the Army Corps of Engineers, which wants to conduct a feasibility study for the Delaware watershed and its tributaries, including the Frankford and Pennypack creeks. According to Thorp, similar studies have netted federal money to pay for capital improvements. Any construction would require a local match, which could be split between the DRWC, the Water Department and other city agencies and nonprofits. Thorp said the federal money could ultimately help pay for things like pier improvements and the wetlands park near the southern part of the Central Delaware.
  • The Race Street Pier got its last donation to pay for 37 large trees this morning. The pier is scheduled to open on time May 12, and a committee has been formed to plan a gala to coincide with the opening.
  • The DRWC should start work in the next week to conduct repairs on Pier 9, which is located next to the Race Street Pier. Repairs will be made on the roof, broken windows will be replaced and the pier will get a new paint job. The Philadelphia Fringe Festival is also looking at renting the pier for two weeks in September. Milkman said they want to put a small circus on the pier, and DRWC president Tom Corcoran said the group was planning on using an event in the pier as a fundraiser.
  • The Great Plaza will be getting some TLC. The DRWC is upgrading the restrooms, as well as adding more shade and redoing the landscaping, according to Forkin. Next year, the plaza will be redesigned to allow for more vending space.

Contact the reporter at acampisi@planphilly.com

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