Famous Phila Lincoln Highway piece to change

A small segment of Lincoln Highway on the northeast border of Philadelphia is due for change next summer; whether that will affect an 18th century stone arch bridge remains to be seen. Here’s a scene and a video walk along the road and bridge by Rick Sebak when filming his PBS special, A Ride Along the Lincoln Highway.

PA_Byberry stone arch bridge

Plans to fix up Benjamin Rush State Park, parallel to Roosevelt Boulevard/the Lincoln Highway, have languished for decades due to a city-state dispute about the improvements. But according to Philly.com, John W. Norbeck, director of the Bureau of State Parks, last week said he and City Councilman Brian O’Neill reached “an agreement in principle” during a June 30 meeting.

The parks director said last week that the state will proceed as planned to put out bids early next year and for work to commence by June 2010…. The design stipulates that Burling Avenue, a beat-up old city road that cuts through the park from Roosevelt Boulevard’s outer northbound lanes, will be removed and filled in along with another street [Byberry-Bensalem Road, aka the old Lincoln Highway] that can be seen only on maps.

Striking Burling Avenue and Byberry-Bensalem Road from the city’s street map had been a sticking point for years. O’Neill had maintained that city law bars building on a city street unless the street has been “vacated” by ordinance. Later, city zoning matters further complicated things….

When City Council reconvenes in the fall, the councilman said, he will introduce legislation that would erase the streets from city maps and also change the city’s passive recreation ordinance to accommodate the state’s plans for Rush.

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