You’re cycling along River Road. You come to a bridge, be it Morrisville-Trenton, Washington Crossing, New Hope or Frenchtown and you come to a screeching stop.
If you plan on crossig to the other side of the Delaware River, you’re going to have to get off that bicycle and stride about a quarter-mile, often in shoes not made for walking.
But come this June, all that is about to change.
A new bike/pedestrian path on the reconstructed Scudder Falls Bridge’s southbound lane will provide cyclists with a unique opportunity.
Pedal-pushers will be allowed to keep their wheels turning, marking the only place north of Philadelphia’s Ben Franklin Bridge to permit such activity.
The path will be wide enough for both cyclists as well as pedestrians/runners to move about simultaneously.
In a word: Cool.
And you don’t even have to pay a toll or use an E-Z Pass.
The new path will connect the Pennsylvania and New Jersey State Canal towpaths for what should be a fun, scenic ride.
First proposals for the path were made way back in 2003 and again in 2010 when the project began to take shape. The path’s cost, approximately $14 million, was a concern at first but apparently some of the price will be deferred through the toll system on the bridge.
Other new paths have been added to bridges in New Jersey but they weren’t put on until the bridges were completed.
The Scudder Falls Bridge project is unique in that the path will be completed before the northbound lane is finished in 2021.
Essentially, the pathway (including a 10-foot-high transparent, sound-buffer wall on the traffic side) is complete. Construction crews (see photo) are finishing up the connecting ramps to complete the project.
When we wrote about the new pathway a couple years ago, here are some of the comments we received from local cyclists and runners:
“When it’s complete, it will sure be nice to have access from both sides,’’ says veteran triathlete Bob Burke, who operates Guy’s Bicycles in Feasterville. “Having to cross in Washington Crossing isn’t too bad, but the Calhoun Street Bridge (narrow, etc.), now that’s a different story.
“I can picture a nice run along the canal without having to cross up near Trenton. Having more bike and run access will be fantastic for the triathlon community, as well as the recreational cycling community. I know many of my running and riding friends will be excited to hear this news.’’
Ron Jones, a three-hour marathoner back in the day, lives a block off the Delaware and welcomes the new crossing.
“I’m completely in favor of the bike and pedestrian path,’’ says Jones. “I’m sure it will get good use.’’
For Harry Betz, owner of Newtown Bicycle Shop and co-director of the Bucks County Duathlon, this is a much welcomed addition to the two-wheel scene.
“This is a big win for the pedestrians, runners and cyclists in the area,’’ Betz says. “Kudos to those who fought to get this done. Aside from linking the multi-sport trails on both sides of the river, this sends a message that a car is not the only option to get around.
“Hopefully this will pave the way for more pathways in our region. In our cement and steel world, having more recreational opportunities will be crucial to the health and well-being of our residents.”
Can’t wait to give it a test drive.
BCRR Winter Series Pick Your Way 5.3-Miler, 9 a.m., Tyler State Park, Newtown. Contact bcrrclub.com
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