No matter what happens in tonight’s Sweet 16 matchup against Miami, Villanovans have cause to celebrate: the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) approved $4.5 million in state funding for a long-sought pedestrian bridge over Lancaster Avenue in front of St. Thomas of Villanova Church.
The DVRPC board authorized adding $3 million in fiscal year 2016 and $1.5 million in fiscal year 2017 to fund construction of the bridge, which will help link Villanova University’s main campus to the Villanova stop on SEPTA’s Norristown High Speed Line and the Augustinian school’s south campus. Currently, thousands of students must wait for a traffic signal to cross busy US 30. When Villanova is in session, rush hour traffic along the route can occasionally back up over a quarter mile to Spring Mill Road.
The pedestrian bridge will be wheelchair accessible and will also help serve six new buildings that the University plans to build where a surface parking lot stands today. Villanova plans on building new dormitories, a parking garage, and a performing arts space, along with some student-centric retail and dining options.The building proposals have been part of a protracted conflict between the University and the surrounding eponymous community, which has largely fought the school every step of the planning process.
Even if the Wildcats disappoint yet again in the big dance, Villanova students, staff, and faculty can relish this small victory, and perhaps sing a variant of their fight song:
V’s for Villanova!
V’s for victory!
B’s for Bridge and W’s for Wheelchair accessible
And for the Bridge and Wheelchairs, we’ve fought, fought, fought….