The four-lane configuration of State Road in Torresdale will not return with the imminent conclusion of a multiyear sewer and water main installation project.
Speaking at the monthly general meeting of the East Torresdale Civic Association on Jan. 9, Philadelphia Streets Department engineer Steve Lorenz reported that the city will use a three-lane configuration to allow for the creation of dedicated bicycle lanes.
For cars, there will be one northbound lane, one southbound lane and a central left-turn lane.
“For a number of years, we’ve been debating whether to put bike lanes on State Road,” Lorenz said. “So we used this project to see how one lane in each direction would work. It worked well.”
According to Lorenz, the bicycle lanes will be a standard 5 feet in width and will become part of “Bike Route E,” a continuous bicycle route/trail stretching from Morrisville, Bucks County, at the New Jersey border to Marcus Hook, Delaware County, at the Delaware border. It links with similar routes in other states to form the East Coast Greenway, a continuous “urban path” from Calais, Maine, to Key West, Fla., for non-motorized human transportation.
Initially, Torresdale Avenue was to carry the neighborhood’s segment of the route, but State Road will instead be the official route.
Lorenz noted that engineers observed no prohibitive vehicle traffic snarls with the three-lane configuration during the sewer and water main construction, aside from typical delays caused by motorists making left turns.
One neighbor questioned the wisdom of reducing capacity on State Road, considering many motorists use it as an alternate route for the nearby Interstate 95, particularly when traffic is at a standstill on the highway.
“More times than not, 95 is not backed up,” Lorenz said. “And when it is, obviously traffic goes all over the place.”
Other neighbors requested specific modifications to the new configuration. One asked for “left turn” arrows and markings in front of the Baker’s Bay condominium complex. Markings have been installed in front of the neighboring Delaire Landing complex, but not at Baker’s Bay.
Another neighbor requested that the streets department install turning arrows on eastbound Linden Avenue at State Road to improve traffic flow through the intersection. Linden Avenue is wide enough for a dedicated left turn lane with another lane for right turns and through traffic. Yet, there are no lane markings, so many left-turners sit in the middle and block trailing cars while waiting for oncoming traffic to clear.
Another neighbor reminded Lorenz to have “no truck parking” signs re-installed along northbound State Road north of Arendel Street. The signs were removed for the sewer and water project.
In unrelated business, leaders of the civic association agreed to meet with the owner of Maggie’s Waterfront Café to discuss his ongoing zoning variance and liquor license applications.
The city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment recently approved two variances for the bar/restaurant at 9242 N. Delaware Ave., including one for the construction of a new exterior walk-in cooler and one for the construction of an enclosure for a set of exterior Bilco-style doors.
Three other variance applications are pending with the ZBA, according to the business owner, Kevin Goodchild. In addition, Goodchild has applied to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to extend the use of his liquor license on the property.
Goodchild says he has invested some $300,000 to renovate and expand Maggie’s with the consent of neighbors, some of whom now oppose modifying the liquor license.
Meanwhile, the ETCA has formally opposed Goodchild’s three unresolved variance applications, which involve the modification of lot lines, the legalization of parking and the further expansion of the bar/restaurant.
Officers of the ETCA invited Goodchild to attend their next executive board meeting to discuss his plans. Although that meeting is not open to the public, Goodchild is expected to speak publicly at the civic group’s next general meeting on Monday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m., at Liberty Evangelical Free Church, Linden Avenue and Milnor Street. ••EndFragment