By Anya Saretzky
The Ben Franklin Bridge is an iconic feature in the Greater Philadelphia region. Spanning the Delaware River between Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey, it is a vital connector for both vehicular and non-motorized traffic, but not without its challenges.
Caitlin Teefey recently relocated from Pensacola, Florida to Philadelphia and gets around almost exclusively by bike. In Pensacola, she reports, that would have been impossible. Currently, she’s completing her degree in Healthcare Administration while simultaneously serving as her nephew’s full-time nanny. And because her nephew’s favorite activity is riding on the back of his aunt’s bike, they spend plenty of time exploring the Circuit Trails!
One of their first outings on the Circuit Trails was across the river to Camden’s Adventure Aquarium by way of the Ben Franklin Bridge and the Camden GreenWay. “We could have taken the easy way and just drove but we decided that biking over the Ben Franklin Bridge would be a better way to see the city. It’s great exercise and it’s doable. And I didn’t want to pay the toll!”
At the end of her voyage across the bridge, a surprise was in store for her: “I had no idea there would be those extremely steep and narrow stairs. Balancing the bike with a baby on the back was a challenge, but well worth it.” Luckily, she was with her brother who could help her safely carry her bike with the baby aboard down the stairs.
Without someone to lend a hand, Caitlin says she is unwilling to take her nephew over the bridge. “By myself, it would be unsafe. It’s just way too narrow. Taking the baby out [of the bike seat] would be too huge of a deal.” If there was a ramp, Caitlin says she would take the trip over the bridge every day. She also thinks that many more people would use the bridge if a ramp was constructed.
Caitlin was happy to hear that plans are in the works to build a ramp on the Camden side of the bridge. The project is currently close to the end of final design. The Delaware River Port Authority reports that the project will be put out to bid for construction in 2016. Construction will take about a year to complete.
Once the ramp is complete, we hope to see many more families making the trip over the Ben Franklin Bridge!