Friday, February 19, 2010

Camco gets $5.8M for bicycle paths

CAMDEN — Camden County will receive $5.8 million in federal stimulus money to construct two miles of bike paths through Camden to connect the suburbs to the waterfront and Philadelphia via the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
That's nearly $3 million a mile.

Camden County's share is part of a $23 million, bistate grant to create a regional network of bike paths.
Philadelphia and surrounding counties will receive $17.2 million for the same purpose. The total grant is part of $1.5 billion in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants that have been earmarked for improvements to roads, bridges, rail, ports, transit and intermodal facilities.
Though multiple agencies on both sides of the river collaborated on the application, Philadelphia's Deputy Transportation Commissioner Steve Buckley was the principal applicant. Together, the two states applied for $36 million to create 17 trails.
Work on the paths must be completed by 2012, said Jacob Gordon, general counsel for Cooper's Ferry Development Association, which will manage Camden County's share.
The grant, he said, will cover improvements to three trails:
Martin Luther King Boulevard from Cooper University Hospital to the waterfront (0.76 mile);
Pine Street from Haddon Avenue to New Camden Park behind Camden High School in Parkside to Farnum Park (0.74 miles);
Pearl Street to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge (0.51 miles).
A bike path already exists from North Park Drive in Pennsauken, around The Pub restaurant, to the south side of Admiral Wilson Boulevard. Still missing is a short link near a Hess gas station on the boulevard to 11th Street that would pass in front of a Campbell Soup Co. building that is under construction.
Though the grant does not cover this vital link, Gordon said he is confident the state Department ofTransportation and the county will close the loop.
When the proposed trails are complete, a bicyclist will be able to pedal safely from the suburbs to the Camden Waterfront or Philadelphia from either side of Cooper River.

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