A RIVER ROUTE FOR LOWER BUCKS COUNTY: In 1932, the Regional Planning Federation (the predecessor agency to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission) proposed a parkway system around the Philadelphia area similar to that constructed by Robert Moses. Like the Moses parkways in New York, the four-lane parkways were to feature controlled access, stone-arch bridges, timber lightposts and natural vegetation.

The 1932 proposal called for a four-lane parkway to be constructed along the west bank of the Delaware River from US 1 in Yardley north to US 202 in New Hope. Connecting the route along the Delaware was to be a series of "ribbon parks," the largest of which was Washington Crossing Historic Park. However, without a "power broker" like Moses to coordinate efforts, the parkway system never came to fruition.

In 1969, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) resurrected the river route proposal, this time suggesting an expressway to replace the existing PA 32 through lower Bucks County. The PA 32 Expressway, which was to connect the Delaware Expressway (I-95, near EXIT 51) in Yardley with the US 202 Expressway in New Hope, was shown as the "Thru County Expressway." As part of the "maximum test freeway network" mileage, the route was not slated for completion until at least 1985.

The 11-mile-long PA 32 Expressway was estimated to cost approximately $30 million (this estimate was calculated on the basis of the $2.7 million cost for the 1.7 miles within DVRPC jurisdiction). The low traffic volume relatively to the high cost, as well as environmental concerns - the location of the route went through Washington Crossing Historic Park - ultimately doomed the PA 32 Expressway. By 1974, the route disappeared from DVRPC planning maps.

SOURCES: Regional Plan of the Philadelphia Tri-State District, Regional Planning Federation (1932); 1985 Regional Transportation Plan, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (1969).

  • PA 32 shield by Ralph Herman.


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