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Access to the Schuylkill Banks is about to get a lot easier, safer

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Come October 20, accessing the Schuylkill Banks from Fitler Square will be a lot easier thanks to the official opening of the Schuylkill River Parks Connector Bridge that now spans the railroad that currently separates the neighborhood from the waterfront. 
 
Say goodbye to the at-grade crossing or the moments of disappointment from running or biking down to the current Locust Street park entrance only to get brutally rebuffed and blocked by a train passing by.        
 
Say hello to a brand new prefabricated bridge which spans 95 feet over the CSX railroad line, and features a 12-foot-wide pathway and ADA accessibility on both approaches.  So it shouldn’t be too tight a squeeze for a multitude of users to be on there at once.    
 
Another bonus of the bridge is that it will provide a direct link from the Schuylkill Banks to the Schuylkill River Park.  In fact, the opening of the bridge is coinciding with that park's annual Fall Festival
 
This year’s festival will have a lot to celebrate.  The River Park has been under construction in conjunction with the bridge, but is now completely restored.  New features include new park paving, benches, trash receptacles, an improved dog run, new lighting, an irrigation system, new trees and shrubs and revitalized turf.
 
The bridge is one piece of a very large puzzle to connect the Schuylkill Banks to the Grays Ferry Crescent Trail Park and beyond along the Schuylkill River Trail.  As part of this plan, a half-mile boardwalk, which is currently under construction, will directly connect to the bridge’s approach and extend down to the South Street bridge.
 
If you’re in the neighborhood and interested in seeing the bridge's official commemoration, the ceremony takes place at 1 p.m. this Saturday with Mayor Michael Nutter expected to attend -- during the Fall Festival, which runs 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. The events rain date is the next day, October 21 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. 

WriterGreg Meckstroth
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