Friday, January 31, 2014

Manayunk's "Park in the Sky" moves closer to reality

The Manayunk Bridge Plan | Courtesy of PlanPhilly

As of January 2014, bid solicitation has already begun; nice.

This means that construction will potentially start in 2014, and completion may even happen this year as well. All super-positive news for a very important project.

Why do I feel it's so important? A few reasons:

1) Connection: If you ever drive on I-76 (aka "The Schuylkill", east or west), you cannot miss this huge structure. Built in 1918, but basically out-of-use since '86, the Manayunk Bridge is one of Philadelphia's architectural icons. So much so that even a few local businesses use it in their logos. The goal is to connect Manayunk and Bala Cynwyd in a different way; through recreation. The nice part is that not only will this project connect Philadelphia to its suburban counterparts through a recreational trail, but it will also allow for people to take a casual stroll and enjoy an amazing view.

2) Reuse: At some point, if a project like this was not in play, the Manayunk Bridge may have faced the wrecking ball. Why? Because it would have been a potential liability for SEPTA/Philadelphia (due to its non-use, and future wear-tear). Now that it has a modern-day purpose once again, and a functional one at that, my guess is that it will be taken care of properly from here on out; and even more so if it becomes a popular tourist spot. Once the park has been completed, maybe the next step will be to clean up the bottom a little more (e.g. repair masonry, future murals, etc).

3) Uniqueness: Out of all the bridges in Philadelphia, aside from the big dogs that cross the Delaware River, the Manayunk Bridge may be the most recognizable of the bunch. Considered an open spandrel arch bridge, its interesting look/style gives character to both Manayunk/Roxborough and Bala Cynwyd. It's also this unique look that could potentially turn it into a future Philadelphia destination, for both locals and tourists alike. Manayunk is already considered a biking mecca, and once the bridge project is complete, it will help spur the completion of the Ivy Ridge Trail project; which will connect to the Schuylkill River Trail.

All of these reasons play into Manayunk/Roxborough's future as a desirable place to live. In recent years, this entire area has become a popular fitness destination. New fitness centers, cross-fit clubs, cycling gyms, yoga studios, and indoor/outdoor boot camps are all part of the neighborhood's quality of life. QOL goes a long way, and is necessary if you want to keep current residents as well as gain new ones.

Once there is a fully-rehabbed Manayunk Bridge, spanning across the Schuylkill River for everyone to see/enjoy, there's no question that it will attract more people to Manayunk/Roxborough.


  1. As a northwest Philadelphia resident, I certainly hope that this bridge happens. Thanks for writing and taking interest. I recently was on this bridge and took some great photos.

  2. Looks like it's happening soon, Jason.

    Great details here.