Ben Franklin Bridge ramp gives accessibility to pedestrians, cyclists

Paul Kurtz
June 04, 2019 - 3:57 pm
The Ben Franklin Bridge just became a lot more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists.

Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio

Categories: 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Ben Franklin Bridge just became a lot more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists.

Funny how a simple ramp can become a game changer.  

"It opens up a whole new world, it really does," said John Boyle with the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. 

"People with disabilities could not go from one side of the river to the other. People could not carry bicycles, even able-bodied people could not carry their bicycles up 40 steps and it's not fun, it's daunting," he said. 

40 steps, 25 feet high - a workout in itself for cyclists like Irene Bucher. 

"You had to carry your bike up. It kind of hurt your back," she said. 

The Ben Franklin Bridge just became a lot more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists.
Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio

The ADA-accessible ramp not only improves the connection between two cities, it becomes a key link for the nine county trail network spanning New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

"This really opens up this huge wave of connectivity and accessibility for riders who are very frequently using the circuit trails via the Ben Franklin Bridge trail to get to work, to get to school, for recreation and exercise," said Paige Knapp, spokeswoman for Circuit Trails. "It is exactly what it should be, which is this real easy way to get on and off this trail that really serves this major connection for New Jersey and Pennsylvania." 

It took two years to build the ramp at a cost of nearly $8 million. 

Nearly half the funding came from the Federal Highway Administration.