Schuylkill River Park Connector Bridge Officially Opens

Last summer, work began on the construction of a 680-foot connector bridge between Schuylkill River Park and the Schuylkill River Trail. Construction of this bridge was necessary to resolve a law suit between the City of Philadelphia and CSX, the company that owns the rail line that separates much of Center City West from direct access to the river. As a side effect of this $6M project that was funded mostly by federal stimulus money, the Friends of Schuylkill River Park were to receive several improvements to their park, including new landscaping, and stellar new dog parks. For about a year and a half, neighbors have had to make do with their park being an active construction site. But no longer!

Site plan of the park

Over the weekend, the new connector bridge was officially dedicated at a ribbon cutting ceremony. We headed over there to check it out, and came away really impressed.

From 25th St.
Big dog park
Little dog park
Entrance to the bridge
From the bridge, an unobstructed view of the new park for big dogs. Note the high-tech grass substitute.
Heading up the ramp
View from the top
Looking back the way we came

Though some neighbors threw a hissy fit as this project was about to get underway, no one can argue that the park is improved and that this new access point to the trail is a welcome addition to the menu. In just a few minutes today, we saw half a dozen parents pushing strollers over the connector bridge, a task that would have involved a walk to Walnut Street in the past.

And speaking of additions to the menu, it seems that the next step for the Schuykill River Trail is finally being realized. Last spring, we predicted that construction would begin in July 2011 on a two-thousand-foot-long boardwalk “floating” in the river, extending the trail to South Street. Over a year later, preliminary work has begun, as workers on a barge prepare to drill down into the river to install the support columns that will hold up the boardwalk. According to a worker on the site, the boardwalk should be finished in a little over a year.

Strong like Gaston

Here are some renderings of what the boardwalk will look like once it’s finished. Can. Not. Wait.

The boardwalk will generally be 15' wide, but will have some expanded sections. For fishing, mostly, it seems.
Aerial view from the South
Looking south, from the current end of the trail
Aerial again, including South Street Bridge