Holmesburg Civic: North Delaware Greenway and Cottman Interchange updates

Updates on two massive projects affecting much of the Northeast were the focus of last night’s meeting of the Holmesburg Civic Association.

The four looming phases of a large-scale Delaware River reclamation project were rehashed by representatives of the Delaware River City Corporation and the latest from the 10-year, $2 billion I-95 Cottman Avenue Interchange project was discussed by a spokesman from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

It was the end of a quiet summer,” civic president Fred Moore said to more than 20 in the meeting room of the Holmesburg Recreation Center.

Much of the capital is already in place for the Greenway Plan of the North Delaware, a multi-year, tiered plan that would reduce obstructions to the waterfront and create a continuous trail that would — in planning — flow freely to Penn’s Landing and Center City.

“We’re bringing the people of Northeast Philadelphia to the river,” said Capital Program Director Paul Lonie.

Below watch DRCC chairman Robert A. Borski, Jr.’s July appearance on Comcast Local Edition, discussing the North Delaware Greenway.

The DRCC nonprofit is still awaiting federal money but, Lonie said, he expects much of the heavy work to begin in early 2010; the only hard deadline he offered was for Lardner’s Point, a small 4.5-acre waterfront park planned for immediately south of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, that he said would be completed six months after construction begins.

Other Holmesburg Civic agenda notes

A Quiet Summer — Civic President Fred Moore

-Plan C fears — Members discussed the threatened closure of all recreation centers, including Holmesburg

Speeding — Residents of Walker Street and others asked for speed limit signage to slow speeders.

Holy Family History Day — No Holmesburg Day this October, but residents are encouraged to attend the Oct. 18 festival.

While the current PennDOT I-95 project extends from north of Vine Street to past the State Road on-ramp, the presentation focused on the portion of project most affecting Holmesburg: the proposed Cottman Interchange aimed at keeping traffic destined for the interstate on Cottman Avenue, instead of diverting onto Princeton Avenue. Much of that work will be done by the end of 2010, though other elements affecting the Northeast — including a bicycle trail extension from Princeton, removing the Princeton 95 South on-ramp and replacing it with a largely reconfigured State Road entrance — are scheduled for at least three more years of work.

The DRCC plan is the product of a William Penn Foundation-funded study completed in November 2005 and officially endorsed by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission in September 2006. Its crown jewel is the 11-mile Kensington & Tacony trail, a designated pedestrian walkway that would extend from Port Richmond through to Bucks County along the waterfront.

Lonie announced that on Saturday Sept. 26, the Friends of Pennypack will be hosting a cleanup on the DRCC’s Baxter Trail.

The PennDOT presentation engendered a handful of resident complaints related to the rough ride that portions of Cottman offers now. All, including one who claimed major damage to his truck from an unexpected and unwarned pothole, were given contact information to complain

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