With the installation of Indego
bike share stations across the city and a growing network of bike lanes and trails, Philadelphia’s cycling culture is firmly established, but just across the river in Camden, a brand-new 4.3-mile greenway is big news for the city’s burgeoning two-wheeled community.
On September 24 at the Salvation Army’s Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center
, Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd and Freeholder Jeff Nash officially cut the ribbon on Camden’s own portion of the planned 750-mile Circuit
of southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey (about 300 miles of the trails have already been completed). The new greenway was funded by the William Penn Foundation
John Boyle, research director for the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
, says that though there are plenty of cyclists in Camden, "they don’t have an organized movement on the local level like Philadelphia does. It really hasn’t caught on to the degree it has in Center City Philadelphia, but I also think it’s a lack of infrastructure. This is a great start to reverse that."
Boyle and Camden collaborators -- such as Coopers Ferry Partnership
-- hope that new space for bikes on north Camden roadways will increase the accessibility of sites like the Kroc Center, as well as local green spaces that have been the target of recent upgrades, including Pyne Poynt Park and Von Nieda Park.
The main spine of the new bike lanes is a buffered zone parallel to the waterfront on Jersey Joe Walcott Avenue, which then curves into the newly revitalized Erie Street, and heads across the historic State Street Bridge over the Cooper River.
Here, bikers and pedestrians have a choice: There’s a new bridge for cars from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (which boasts bike lanes), and next to it, the old bridge, which is now reserved exclusively for walkers and cyclists. The greenway's lanes then travel along Harrison Avenue past the Kroc Center.
Now that there’s a new artery from below the Ben Franklin Bridge up to the Kroc Center, will Camden keep adding bike lanes? Boyle hopes so.
"I think it really has to, because you need a complete network to provide true access to people," he says. "There’s still a lot of neighborhoods that don’t have bike lanes in Camden, and they’re going to have to fill those gaps."
Writer: Alaina Mabaso
Source: John Boyle, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia