The Ben Franklin Bridge is about to get a walkable makeover.
Thanks to a $400,000 grant, the base of the bridge on the Camden side will have its three-story steps converted to a handicap accessible ramp.
Bicyclists, walkers and those in wheelchairs will be able to cross the bridge with greater ease. The Delaware River Port Authority will oversee the improvement project.
"We think making the trail connection on the Ben Franklin Bridge will have enormous benefits for people who use the bridge. We have had counts of up to 700 people crossing per day," said Barry Seymour, executive director of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.
The DVRPC awarded a total of $4 million in grants for 13 trail design and construction projects today. The winning projects are funded by the William Penn Foundation.
In addition to making the Ben Franklin Bridge walker-friendly, the unused Manayunk Bridge will be converted into a bicycle and pedestrian crossing.
The DVRPC has undertaken a larger scale initiative called "The Circuit" and aims to construct a regional trail network of 750 miles throughout the nine county region in Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey.
"The trails are not just for recreation. People use them for commuting. The trails are really part of the broader transportation network," said Seymour.
"Trails are choices for people and modes of safe travel. They get people out of their car and cars off the road. It improves air quality and there are benefits to have choices for travel."
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