PEC is working to connect Philadelphia’s two rivers and the trails that run along them by joining the waterways with a median greenway down Spring Garden Street.
This innovative concept has been gaining speed and support at a rapid pace. Recently, PEC Program Managers Lizzie Hessmiller and Tony Spagnoli spoke at IgnitePhilly, a biannual event in which presenters are invited to inspire audience members by giving a high-energy presentation on a project intended to have a positive impact on the city. Over 250 people eagerly listened to what PEC is doing right in central Philadelphia. The presentation even inspired a hashtag from riders who have been hurt on the dangerous street: #iwashitonspringgardenstreet.
Just hours before that presentation, working in collaboration with Philadelphia’s Streets and Water departments, PEC submitted a grant to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to fund the design of the greenway. Moving the project from concept to design signals a major step forward and a strong vote of confidence in the idea of a median greenway.
The $980,000 grant would fund about 50 percent of the engineering work. DCNR is expected to announce grant recipients towards the end of the year and if funded, work would begin in 2016.
Out of that grant application, PEC uncovered some remarkable and disturbing data about the corridor. One in five crashes on the street involves a bicycle and a car. This rate of crashes is one of the highest in the city and equates to a level of service rating of E (a failing grade) for cyclists and pedestrians. We also found that Spring Garden Street was one of the most traveled streets for cyclists in the city. At the same time, it was also one of the top five most dangerous streets to ride on. PEC’s plan would change this by increasing safety exponentially for cyclist and pedestrians.
Of course, Spring Garden Street isn’t the only great “green” project happening in Philadelphia. On April 27 engaged Philadelphians are hosting an event to discuss Bike Share, the Rail Park (Philadelphia’s “High Line”), the Delaware River revitalization, and other pioneering projects that make the city a greener place to live. The hosts are inviting Mayoral candidates to hear what they think about these investments. PEC will represent the Spring Garden Street Greenway, where we hope to engage citizens and elected officials in a discussion about our exciting project.