After learning about the Schuylkill River Parks Connector Bridge and the At-Grade Crossing at Race and Locust Streets, we were left to wonder why these related projects were not kick-started sooner for convenience and pedestrian safety.

The pedestrian bridge connecting Schuylkill River Park to Schuylkill Banks will span across the CSX tracks about 500 feet south of Locust Street and have ADA-compatible ramps leading up to it on both sides. “The bridge is being built to provide a safe crossing for the railroad tracks even if the nearby Locust Street grade crossing is closed,” explains Danielle Gray of the Schuylkill River Development Corporation. Designed by HNTB, the bridge is under contract to SRDC and the Philadelphia Streets Department is overseeing construction on this project, which will begin in July and last about 18 months. The Connector Bridge is currently out for bids with the bid opening scheduled for May 12.

The Locust Street and Race Street crossings are closed for the rest of the week as the City Of Philadelphia and CSX continue forward on the project in conjunction with the Streets Department and Seravalli Inc. Construction. The new crossings will be made of timber and asphalt, and CSX plans on putting in fencing and gates that will automatically be controlled by the railroad signal system. When a train approaches the crossing, a warning will sound to alert people to exit the track area and then the gates will close and lock until the train clears. “The idea is to physically stop people from crossing or climbing through parked trains as they can now do,” explains Gray. The project, inclusive of better lighting and cosmetic improvements, is expected to take a few months to complete.