Two years after receiving the funding and lengthy behind-the-scenes negotiations, Phila Parks and Rec. is ready to unveil its current thinking of how to close the Schuylkill River Trails' biggest and most critical gap: the Wissahickon Gateway--the trail segment in between the end of Kelly Drive and Main Street Manayunk.
The public meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 1st at 6pm at the Gustine Rec. Center.
For several years in the 2000s, the Schuylkill Project led the effort to close this gap and prepared a Wissahickon Gateway plan with possible alignments. When the Schuylkill Project joined the Complete the Schuylkill River Trail campaign in early 2009, the gap's profile rose and it was highlighted as the most critical gap in the SRT that was hindering greater usage of the trail past East Falls. This gap is particularly tricky because of the need to cross the Wissahickon Creek and weave through multiple properties that are in between the creek on one end and the Penncoyd Bridge on the other. The new attention helped encourage Phila Parks and Recreation to apply for and receive a DCNR planning grant to conduct a preliminary engineering study in late 2009. In 2010, PPR hired Baker and Associates to conduct the study and they focused on two alignments; one along the riverfront and one along the Ridge Ave/Main St sidewalk.
The study was kicked of in early 2011. After eighteen months of negotations with the Philadelphia Canoe Club, SEPTA, PECO and the Steinberg family who owns the former MAB paint store, restaurant depot and Mr. Storage, PPR is ready to share with the public their concept of how to align a new bridge and trail and close the gap.
Below are two renderings provided by Parks and Recreation and two photos of existing conditions. They represent one trail option under consideration by Parks and Recreation.