Thursday, March 20, 2008

Carpool - one solution for Phoenixville's Gay Street bridge closing

Just as PennDOT began the preparations for raising the low bridge and anticipated 2 week closing of Main Street on March 24th, came the news of Philadelphia's closing of I-95 for emergency repairs on a concrete pillar. Described as a traffic nightmare, all is now well in Philly, but I suspect similar traffic woes will be the hot topic in Phoenixville for at least the next 2 years.

I-95's highway bridge reminded me of the bridge collapse in Minneapolis in 2007 when I learned that out of the 25,000 bridges in Pennsylvania, approximately 5,900 were deemed structurally deficient. Pennsylvania leads the nation in structurally deficient bridges! Phoenixville has patiently waited for the state's attention to turn to our deteriorating bridge. Life as we know it is about to change.

On March 31st, while the commuters and residents who use the Gay Street bridge invent new and startling phrases of frustration (and, I'll be one of them), the high bridge will be dismantled and reconstruction will begin.

It occured to me today that my blog, if word reaches enough people, may be one avenue for commuters to connect with each other to devise plans for carpooling. Other than detouring to Rt. 29 south, and Mowere Road to the west, carpooling may be the only other effective way to reduce the amount of traffic coming through the north side via the low bridge on Gay Street.

Two areas of pubically owned property come to mind for carpoolers coming from the north and northwest. The parking lot for Black Rock Dam's boat launch which is located on Rt. 113 at the Schuylkill River, and Reservoir Park behind the reservoir. I don't know the parking capacity, nor have I had the opportunity to discuss this idea with any borough official, but both lots are public.

We can all become partners in a solution to the long term problem which will face us shortly if we work together.

To that end, I will try to help by doing my part.

Anyone who wishes to organize a carpool may post an email address for others to contact. I would suggest adding a general destination point as well as a maximum number of riders. Once you have reached your maximum, please let me know and I will remove your post. All other details such as pick-up and drop off times, etc., can be exchanged be between the driver and interested parties.

That is about all I can do to help this impending situation for now.

If anyone has an idea or comment, please post it to this thread.


Karen said...

Councilman Jeff Senley's blog has updated and comprehensive information on the bridge closing at his site:

Thank you, Jeff, for your continued public service.

Anonymous said...

The parking lot for Resevoir Park is very small and I don't think people should be encouraged to use it as a "park and ride" lot as it would keep those of us who use it to enjoy the park from doing so.

Anonymous said...

Reservoir Park doesn't have enough parking for the dog park users and Friendship Field league play, let alone be a "park and ride" site.

The Borough was supposed to replace the plumbing and add parking to Reservoir Park in 2007 -- we can see how far that project went!

If the Borough would fix Reservoir Park as promised in 2007, the "park and ride" would be possible -- as would much needed parking for dog park users and the "overfill" from Friendship Field.

Anonymous said...

With gas prices increasing and the Gay Street Bridge's closing expected to last 2 years, carpooling is an excellent option!

There is a region-wide carpooling database that is administered by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.

You can enter your name into the database for a match:

Karen said...

An excellent piece of information, Anonymous 11:07 a.m.!

I hope those commuters affected by the bridge closing take advantage of the website.

Thank you!