October 28, 2015
The city of Philadelphia has been awarded a $10,265,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to support $35 million in infrastructure improvements, Mayor Michael Nutter announced Friday.
The TIGER 7 grant (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) will specifically fund improvements in three city neighborhoods affected by the hazards of abandoned railroad tracks and aging roadway infrastructure.
“This grant will support fantastic projects across the City of Philadelphia which will ultimately improve [the] quality of life for our residents,” Nutter said. “Earlier TIGER grants awarded to the city led to projects like the renovation of Dilworth Park, the creation of the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk, improvements to the Wayne Junction Substation and even a master plan for the Roosevelt Boulevard. The city would not have the resources to complete these projects without the partnerships it has developed with nonprofit partners to secure this type of federal funding.”
The projects in North and West Philadelphia, described in the city's 'Closing the Gaps' grant application, emphasized the goal to restore safe pedestrian and bicycle access to neighborhoods.
The first project, 'Adapting American Street,' will remove two miles of rail tracks on American Street from Girard to Lehigh avenues, replacing them with a vegetated median and crosswalks as well as other landscaping, resurfacing, and traffic management work. The improvements will address American Street's alarming 40 percent of vehicle crashes that involved pedestrians and bicyclists between 2011-2013.
The second project, 'Over the Rails,' will restore continuous access to Westmoreland Street in North Philadelphia by replacing a hazardous elevated footbridge – long associated with crime – with a new multipurpose road and bridge to improve neighborhood connectivity.
The final project, 'Over the River,' will convert an abandoned West Philadelphia railroad bridge into a bicycle and pedestrian swing bridge over the Schuylkill River. The new bridge will close the gap in the regional trail network, The Circuit, and better serve a neighborhood in which 86 percent of residents do not own a vehicle.
"The improvements this funding supports will enhance mobility and access, recreational opportunities and neighborhood quality of life across a broad geographic area and communities representing a wide range of social and demographic character," said Michael A. Carroll, Deputy Commissioner of the Streets Department. "We commend the selection committee for recognizing how the ‘Closing the Gaps’ proposal equally exemplified the themes of ladders of opportunity and the focus on improving the state of good repair for a selection of key roads and bridges in the city."