Start of work on Ben Franklin Bridge pedestrian and bike ramp inches a teensy bit closer

Last month, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission awarded $800,000 to the Delaware River Port Authority for building a pedestrian and bicycle ramp over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

The funds were awarded alongside grants for nine other bicycle and pedestrian projects in New Jersey, for a grand total of $4.7 million. The funds come from the federal government’s Transportation Alternatives Program and Safe Routes to School Program, which are both administered locally by the DVRPC.

The $800,000 grant inches the ramp, which will replace stairs on the south side of the bridge in Camden, a little bit closer to becoming a reality. The project received a $400,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation in October 2013.  The ramp now has $1.2 million of the projected $3.5 million cost.

There’s still time to raise that dough, though: the final and construction design studies are 50 percent complete. According to a statement provided by DRPA, the studies should be ready by the end of 2015.

Currently, the stairs are not ADA-compliant and are uninviting, surrounded by chain link fence and barbed wire. As The Inquirer reported last May, the new ramp is essentially replacing a ramp that was removed in 1950 during a road-widening project

Rendering of ramp
(Courtesy of DRPA)

In addition to the bridge ramp, a number of multi-modal trails in South Jersey are receiving TAP funds. The Delaware River Heritage Trail in Burlington County is getting $750,000 for a connector between Fieldsboro and Florence. The Pennsuaken-Merchantville Multi-Use Trail is also receiving $755,000.  Further north in Mercer County, the Peddie Lake Dam is getting $331,000 for a pedestrian bridge and walking path.

The Safe Routes to School Program is also provided $1.2 million for pedestrian upgrades around schools in Southampton Township, Camden, Collingswood, Princeton and Hightstown.

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