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Philadelphia - Grays Ferry Bridge, 291

Old 09-14-14, 05:33 PM
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Philadelphia - Grays Ferry Bridge, 291

I'm looking at bicycle routes into Philadelphia from the South/West, primarily along Rt 13/Baltimore Pike.

Google maps is suggesting crossing the bridge on Grays Ferry Ave and taking Washington Avenue. I haven't had any problems with Washington Avenue (5th St. to about 23rd), but I don't know Grays Ferry Ave. Driving to I-76 from West Philadelphia, the road near the Grays Ferry entrance seemed to be 3-4 lanes with bad road surfaces, high speed traffic and no shoulder.

Has anyone bicycled across this bridge? Is Grays Ferry Ave better than I remember?
I'd appreciate comments from anyone who knows this area/bridge.


Less likely to be useful is Rt 291, the George Platt Memorial Bridge. According to PennDOT and Wikipedia, this bridge has pedestrian access as well as motor vehicle lanes, but I've never seen any pedestrians, or seen pedestrian access or continuous sidewalks on the bridge.

Does anyone know how/if it is possible to cross this bridge without driving?

Thanks
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Old 09-15-14, 06:34 AM
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There is a shoulder on the GFA Bridge. It will likely have gravel and maybe a hubcap or two. It's definitely rideable.

Platt Bridge for bikes and peds? Seriously? Show me the PennDOT link supporting that.

I think you will find U.S. 13 not fun in many places.
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Old 09-15-14, 07:18 PM
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Lots of cyclists use the Grays Ferry Ave bridge, but I personally hate it. Lots of road debris and fast-moving traffic.

Best way to get into Philly from the west is the South Street bridge. It's got good bike lanes with lots of bike traffic. It does cut across a turn lane for cars at the bottom, but if you don't do anything crazy, it's perfectly fine.
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Old 09-16-14, 06:07 AM
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Yeah. Take the South Street Bridge. One way to get there: From the west side of the GFA Bridge, head north on 47th St. R onto Chester. Left onto 43rd. Right onto Spruce St. Spruce becomes South St. once you pass Franklin Field, etc. If you want to see some nicer blocks, stay on 47th to Larchwood or Osage and turn right to 43rd. I grew up on 48th & Osage. The 4600 block is where you aspired to live. I had friends on that block, but we never made it ourselves.
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Old 09-16-14, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz

Platt Bridge for bikes and peds? Seriously? Show me the PennDOT link supporting that.
Two current links from PennDOT News releases below, start and end of rehabilitation news releases. Looks like they used to have an additional website, www.plattbridge.com during the construction.

Platt Bridge (Route 291) Daytime Lane Closures in Southwest Philadelphia for Installation of New Speed Limit Signs
7/14/2014 News Release

PennDOT’s project to preserve the Platt Bridge (Route 291) consisted of .. and replacing damaged pedestrian railings.

No point to pedestrian railings if they don't think they allow pedestrian access.


Platt Bridge Travel Restrictions Start Feb. 20 in Philadelphia

2/08/2012 News Release
“The Platt Bridge moves thousands of motorists each day through Southwest Philadelphia and the rehabilitation of this critical bridge will enable it to continue to safely carry vehicular and pedestrian traffic for decades to come,” said PennDOT District Executive Lester C. Toaso.
...
Pedestrian access will be maintained on the bridge throughout the project.


I read this from PennDOT and my reaction is the same as yours. I think I did see someone on it once; wasn't clear if it was bridge maintenance or a regular pedestrian, or if the walkway was wide enough for 2 pedestrians to pass each other.

Pedestrians still have to cross 6 lanes of traffic to get on and off the bridge. It's possible that PennDOT figured that since virtually no pedestrians use the bridge they had no interest in actually making it possible for them to do so.

PennDOT and wikipedia mention pedestrian access, not bicycle. I never saw any signs prohibiting bicyclists, but the design is so hostile to pedestrians and bicyclists I'm not about to test motorists' tolerance and skills.

Last edited by English3Speed; 09-16-14 at 06:59 AM.
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Old 09-16-14, 07:11 AM
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Thanks for the replies. I'll take a look at Grays Ferry to see what it's like; you're confirming my previous impressions.

Chestnut St works for some of my destinations. Grays Ferry would have been good for some others, but it sounds like it's as ugly as I thought.

I don't understood the South St Bridge bike lane inside the RTOL lanes on to I-76, especially since bicyclists are not allowed to turn there. Am I missing something, or did PennDOT create a guaranteed conflicts with this design?
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Old 09-16-14, 12:08 PM
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The South St. Bridge is fine. It's used by a multitude of riders every day. I have ridden it numerous times since its reconstruction without a problem.

Chestnut St. west of the river is crappy riding depending on where you are. Plus, the last time I was around Drexel U. there was some big construction project going on around 34th & Chestnut that was tying up traffic and reducing lanes.
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