Twice a year, the Circuit Coalition convenes for a two hour meeting to review progress and accomplishments from the six months. Here is a review of the Semi-Annual Circuit Trails Coalition Meeting held on November 19th:
Traditional, Shared, and Social Media Report
Brianna Taylor of Devine and Partners (D+P) reported that Circuit media efforts have reached over 130 million people through more than 141 online and broadcast placements. These media placements have an estimated value of over $400,000. The D+P team also reported that the Circuit Trails' hashtag: #onthecircuit has gained traction across social media platforms. Additionally, social media advertising and boosted Facebook posts have been very successful, generating 82% of all Facebook likes. See her presentation here.
Branding Campaign Update
As discussed by Katie Harris of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, the new Circuit Trails logo was soft-launched at the end of October! The "Proud to Trail" campaign and new website will launch in the spring with the opening of trail season.
Chris Linn of DVRPC reported that 28 miles of Circuit Trails were completed between May 2012 and May 2014 and 12 miles were completed between May 2014 and November 2015. Forty-one miles are expected to be finished by late 2018. Nearly one hundred miles are in the pipeline which means they are either under design or studies have been completed.
Tom Sexton, Liz Sewell, and Anya Saretzky of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy reported on the trail user surveys program. Survey types include trail-side, intercept, focus group and phone. Results show that most trail users are unaware of the Circuit Trails and that trail use results in significant economic impact for local communities.
DVRPC Trail Use Count Update
DVRPC’s Shawn Megill Legendre reported that there are now 12 permanent counters on trails throughout the region. Trails that are better connected and are close to where people live and work have higher usage levels. All of the data is public and can be found here for permanent counters and here for short term counters.
Case Studies and Lessons Learned
Olivia Glenn of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Sue Brennan of Coopers Ferry Partnership, and Jack Sworaski of Camden County presented about the Cooper River Trail which runs through five municipalities. Their lessons learned can be summed up as “PEDAL” - Persistence & Partnerships, Easements & Education, Diversified funding streams and programming, Advocacy, Local engagement.
Paul Gordon from Bucks County Planning Commission and Michael Stokes from Montgomery County Planning Commission spoke about the cross-county partnership that is building the Pennypack Trail. Key takeaways include using county dollars, saving money by keeping labor in-house, and growing public support by building the trail one section at a time to let people see what the trail will look like.
The Pennsylvania Recreation & Park Society (PRPS) recently awarded Lardner’s Point Park the 2015 Green Park Award. Tom Branigan, Executive Director of the Delaware River City Corp., attended the luncheon earlier this week to accept the award. Other DRCC members in attendance were Jim Donaghy, Jim Fries, Mariann Dempsey and Patrick Starr. The luncheon was part of the PRPS 68th Annual State Conference.
The Green Park Award recognizes excellence in the public park community for those that demonstrate the integration of green and sustainable park practices based upon the following criteria: Site Location and Site Design, Water, Natural Landscaping, Materials Selection and Construction, Connect People to Nature, Operations and Maintenance, and Environmental Stewardship Messaging.
Lardner’s Point – recipient of the 2015 Green Park Award – is a major trailhead for the North Delaware Riverfront Greenway Trail, part of the Circuit. The park provides space to walk, bicycle, and relax along a very scenic stretch of the Delaware just below the iconic Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. Visitors fish from the pier, picnic at handicap-accessible tables, observe wildlife, and traverse a multi-use path through native meadows.
Congratulations Lardner’s Point Park!
Last week 250 involved citizens, many of them arriving on bikes or on foot, joined together for the Better Mobility 2015 Mayoral Forum, organized by the Better Mobility Work Group. Mayor Nutter has long been a proponent for bike lanes and multi-use trails, support which has helped catalyze efforts to develop the Circuit in the region, yet the arrival of a new Mayor raises questions.
Will the new Mayor support cycling infrastructure, pedestrian accommodations, traffic enforcement and the other agenda items that make this city safe for cyclists and walkers alike? Will the new Mayor support "Vision Zero," the idea that traffic fatalities can be eliminated through better planning and design? Will the Circuit find support from the next Mayor?
The forum indicated that, perhaps, the new mayor will be forced by public demand to continue the trend of support for forward-thinking mobility efforts. While specific thoughts and opinions varied widely among candidates, overall every candidate pointed to mobility issues as important for the city (including the neighborhoods) and pointed to the bikability and walkability of the city as a key amenity.
Check out the Bicycle Coalition’s website to learn more about the forum and read the region’s press coverage of the event.
Are all trails in the Greater Philadelphia region part of the Circuit? Not necessarily. And not all trail segments that are on the Circuit web map are part of the Circuit. Those trail segments on the web map that are part of the Circuit are indicated so by the Circuit logo when scrolled over. In order to help clarify what makes a Circuit Trail, the Circuit Coalition steering committee adopted the following criteria.