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5 Exciting Circuit Trails Projects Coming in 2016

In just a month, spring will be here, marking a new season of trail usage! There are several exciting Circuit Trails developments coming soon for users in 2016. Walkers, joggers, cyclers, and individuals who enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle will soon be able to enjoy these new trails, bike lanes, paved paths and more!

Below please find a preview of five new projects coming soon to New Jersey and Pennsylvania trail users!

1.  Lawrence Hopewell Trail – Mercer County, NJ

This multipurpose, paved, stone dust segment of the Lawrence Hopewell trail will extend for two miles from Pennington-Rocky Hill Road to Cleveland Road. Construction on the west side of Carter Road is 26% complete, with the remainder to be finished by July 2016.  Ground conditions discovered during construction required re-routing the trail by about 50 feet and Hopewell Township, which is managing the project, is waiting for updated permits from NJDEP.

The project is funded by the Regional Trails Program, Hopewell Township and NJDOT’s FY13 Bikeway Program.

2.  Chester Creek Trail – Delaware County, PA

Chester Creek Trail, a planned 2.8 mile rail-trail in central Delaware County, will follow Chester Creek along the Civil War-era Chester Creek Branch line of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Construction for the trail began in May of 2015 and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2016. When complete, Delaware County trail will be able to utilize the trail as a commuting alternative as well as a recreational outlet for walkers, hikers, cyclists and runners.

The project is sponsored by Delaware County and is being constructed with funding from PennDOT. 

3.  Baxter Trail – Philadelphia County, PA

When complete, the Baxter Trail will be a 1.8 mile trail connecting the existing Pennypack Trail to the existing bike lanes on State Road. The future trail, expected to be completed in spring 2016, will pass through diverse man-made environments and natural habitats and provide Philadelphians with easy access to the Delaware River.

Project sponsors include the Delaware River City Corporation, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, the Commerce Department, Holmesburg Fish and Game Protective Association, the Philadelphia Water Department and the Philadelphia Police and Fire Departments.

4.  Sullivan’s Bridge (formerly Betzwood Bridge) – Montgomery County, PA

The new 14-foot wide Sullivan’s Bridge will be a 0.5-mile connection linking the Schuylkill River Trail with the trail system in Valley Forge National Historical Park and is expected to be completed in spring of 2016. The pedestrian and cycling bridge will replace the current, rickety, 3-foot-wide boardwalk-style walkway bolted onto the side of the Route 422 bridge.

The bridge project is sponsored by Montgomery County.

5.  Kinkora Trail in Burlington County, NJ

The Kinkora Trail, Mansfield Community Park to Springfield Veteran’s Memorial Park segment, is part of an overall 13-mile trail.  Burlington County is currently constructing this 3-mile trail segment that will include a 10’ wide asphalt shared use path from Mansfield’s Community Park trailhead in the Village of Columbus through two preserved farms.  Bicyclists will be able to connect to Springfield’s Veteran’s Memorial Park via shared lanes on Skunk Island Road.  This trail will be fully constructed and open to the public in Spring 2016.

The project is funded by Regional Trails Program and Burlington County.

Calling all Burlington County Residents!

Burlington County has the opportunity to build out several miles of Circuit trails including the Delaware River Heritage Trail, Kinkora Trail and the Rancocas Creek Trail –  but they need YOU for support! Next Wednesday (6/24), Burlington County Freeholders are holding a board meeting and will consider adjusting its Open Space tax rate as part of the budget process. Please join us and speak in support of greater investment for trails and parks! 


Your presence is needed to support increased county investment in Burlington County trails and parks!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015, 7:00 PM

Burlington County Freeholders are holding a board meeting on Wednesday, June 24 and will consider adjusting its Open Space tax rate as part of the budget process. In 2013, Burlington County rolled back the tax from four cents to 1.5 cents per $100 of equalized assessed value. We’ve heard that the Freeholders are considering restoring the tax rate to four cents.

Burlington County has the opportunity to build out many miles of the following trails.

  • Delaware River Heritage Trail
  • Kinkora Trail
  • Rancocas Creek Trail

According to a new Circuit public opinion poll, those surveyed from Burlington County demonstrated that they are in favor of more trails.  The survey found:

  • 69% of Burlington County residents would like to have access to a trail, or to more trails within 10 minutes of their home
  • 86% support the construction of new trails in Burlington County
  • 72% of Burlington County residents support spending $2 of tax dollars per person per year to add 64 miles of trails in Burlington County to the 750 mile Circuit regional trail network.
  • 77% of Burlington County residents have used a trail for recreation or transportation within the Delaware Valley

The County is on a roll with new parks and trails being planned and opened. Increasing their investment will help keep up the momentum. Please attend the Burlington County Chosen Freeholders Board meeting and speak in support of greater investment for trails and parks!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015, 7:00 PM

County Administration Building

3rd Floor, COURTROOM 1

49 Rancocas Road

Mt. Holly, NJ 08060

DVRPC Approves $3.9 Million for Circuit Trails

On Thursday, September 26th, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) Board approved 13 projects for funding from the final phase of the Regional Trail Program, which was created and funded by a $10 million grant from the William Penn Foundation.  

The Regional Trail Program aims to provide funding for targeted, priority trail design, construction and planning projects that will promote a truly connected, regional network of multi-use trails (the Circuit) with Philadelphia and Camden as its hub. 

Phase III of the program provided capital funding for trail design and construction projects. Approximately $4 million was available for Phase III grants. Individual grant awards are capped at $500,000 and all projects require a 20 percent match. A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued in March and 31 proposals were submitted by the deadline in mid-April. The proposals were evaluated by a Selection Committee composed of Foundation representatives, PennDOT and NJDOT, DVRPC staff, and regional trail funders and advocates.

Based on Committee review and subsequent follow-up, the following 13 projects were recommended for funding and approved on Thursday by the DVRPC Board.

  1. Kinkora Trail - Mansfield Community Park Connector – Burlington County, Department of Resource Conservation – Grant request: $500,000 Total project cost: $1,440,000
  2. Ben Franklin Bridge Walkway Bicycle and Pedestrian Ramp – DRPA – Grant request: $400,000 Total project cost: $3,600,000
  3. Lawrence Hopewell Trail Carter Road East and West – Lawrence Hopewell Trail Corporation – Grant request: $250,000 Total project cost: $625,000
  4. Route 13-Green Lane Trail Connector – Bucks County TMA – Grant request: $249,000 Total project cost: $917,679
  5. Neshaminy Creek Greenway Design and Engineering (Chalfont and New Britain) – Chalfont Borough – Grant request: $188,768 Total project cost: $235,960
  6. Phoenixville Schuylkill River Trail Phase 2 – Phoenixville Borough – Grant request: $365,000 Total project cost: $457,000
  7. Darby Creek Stream Valley Park Trail – Delaware County – Grant request: $500,000 Total project cost: $700,000
  8. Newtown Square Rail Trail (Haverford) – Haverford Township – Grant request: $340,000 Total project cost: $425,000
  9. Tookany Creek Trail - Phase III – Cheltenham Township – Grant request: $400,000 Total project cost: $500,000
  10. Lansdale Liberty Bell Trail – Lansdale Borough – Grant request: $160,840 Total project cost: $201,050
  11. Tacony/Holmesburg Gap Waterfront Trail Design and Engineering – DRCC – Grant request: $300,000 Total project cost: $500,000
  12. Manayunk Bridge Trail Construction Engineering Services – Philadelphia - MOTU – Grant request: $60,000 Total project cost: $3,060,000
  13. Cobbs Creek Connector Trail – Philadelphia Parks and Recreation – Grant request: $275,000 Total project cost: $595,000

Total grant request amount for all 13 Phase III projects is $3,988,608.  The total match amount is $9,318,081 and the total cost of all the projects is $13,306,149.

Phase III represents the final amount of funding available from this program.  Future funding depends on the DVRPC board.  This is why the Circuit Coalition currently is running the Circuit Committment campaign, seeking a decision from the DVRPC Board to replenish the fund with $10 Milion over a three year period. 

Highlights from the Delaware River Heritage Trail RIbbon Cutting

Burlington County and Bordentown City Officials cut the ribbon on the first segment of the Delaware River Heritage Trail. The on road section of the Delaware River Heritage Trail mainly consists of new sidewalks along with excellent signage and kiosks along the entire 3 mile length. While there is current minimum accommodation for bikes, Burlington County will be installing bike lanes on the southern section of the trail after the road is resurfaced.

Among those present at the Ribbon Cutting included Freeholder Director Joseph Donnelly,  Freeholder Aimee Belgard, Bordentown City Mayor Joseph Malone and Bordentown Commissoners James Lynch and Commissioner Zigmont Targonski. Targonski noted that the trailhead is only the first phase of improvements to the Bordentown Beach area, which is mostly an open and dusty parking area for launching boats. Freeholder Donnelly already saw the success of the expanded sidewalks - noting that city residents are utilizing it to access the Acme Supermarket on Route 130 in Bordentown Township.

Kudos to the County's Trail Planner Matt Johnson, Rails to Trails Conservancy's Akram Abed, NJ Conservatoin Foundation Camden Area director Maria Tranguch and Trenton Cycling Revolution's Don Pillsbury for leading cyclists to the event. We especially want to thank the anonymous River LINE operator who held the train to make sure everyone got off safely at Bordentown.

We are looking forward to the county's next projects, which will be to design and build a 2 mile section of the Kinkora Trail - Jobstown (pronounced Jobestown) to Columbus. Other projects in the pipeline include obtaining funding to design and build the first section of the Rancocas Greenway from Delanco RIver Line Station to Bridge St at the Moorestown/Mt. Laurel Border, and looking at alternatives to US 130 for the Delaware River Heritage Trail south of Bordentown. When completed these three trails - The Delaware River Heritage Trail, The Kinkora Trail and Rancocas Greenway - will form a triangle that will serve as the core of the Circuit in Burlington County.

Ribbon cutting was covered by the the Burlington County Times.

Burlington County Proposes Draconian Cuts To Open Space Program

Tomorrow on June 12th, the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders will hold a hearing and vote on a reduction of the County's Open Space tax. The current 4 cent tax will be cut to 1.5 cents: a 63% reduction from $20M per year to $7.5M per year. The County claims that a $48 million dollar surplus in th program would be enough to continue build out of the County's Master Plan. While the proposal is a "one year cut", it is uncertain that the 4 cent tax rate would ever be restored due to the fact that it could be seen as a 167% tax hike.

65 miles of the Circuit are in Burlington County. Currently only about 6 miles of trail have been completed including a 3 mile section of the Delaware River Heritage Trail that was completed last month. We roughly estimate that it will cost at least $30 million dollars to complete the Circuit in Burlington County.

The Rancocas Greenway is a case in point.  The County has spent millions in Open Space Funds acquiring land bordering the Rancocas Creek. Virtually the entire corridor between Delanco and Brendan Byrne State Forest is in Municipal County and State ownership. The opportunity to build the 25 mile multi-use trail is now.

The public hearing will take place Tomorrow,

June 12th - 7PM 
Burlington County Offices
49 Rancocas Mount Holly Road
Mount Holly, NJ

The Freeholders are expected to vote on the proposal at the end of the meeting.

Please attend this meeting and ask the Freeholders to preserve the current tax rate and build the 65 miles of Rancocas Greenway, Delaware River Heritage and Kinkora trails.  

The Bordentown Trailhead of the Delaware River Heritage Trail was completed late last month.

Pemberton Rail Trail - Closed For Business

The Pemberton Rail Trail in New Jersey is a two mile Y shaped trail on the western edge of the Pine Barrens, adjacent to the Maguire-Dix-Lakehurst Joint Base. The trail is planned to be a part of the Rancocas Creek Trail which if completed would traverse an east west line across Burlington County. It would also link up with the Kinkora Trail to Roebling.

Pemberton is a military town that features a traditional small town business district. On the north edge of this district is the former Pemberton Railroad Museum, an abandoned station restored in the 1990's that due to a dispute with Township Officials has been closed for two years. Shortly after the closure of the station the Township closed the Rail Trail as well. The Pemberton Rail Trail which was mostly paid for with State DOT funds and Federal Rec Trails grants enjoys the distinction of being the only trail on the Circuit that is closed to the public.

Looking at the rusting chain link fence and Christie Whitman's "2000 more miles" I couldn't help but think that this is what it probably looked like before the investments were made to build the trail and restore the station. Despite the foreboding feel the trail seems to remain popular among the locals who ignore the No Tresspassing signs. Dog walkers and people on their lunch break follow a loop between the north and south forks of the trail. Interestingly enough the south entrance to the trail (next to the canoe rental) has no warning signs and appears to be open.

If Pemberton cannot realize the economic value of being a trail town then perhaps its time for Burlington County to take the trail off their hands. Resurface the trail (porous asphalt would be nice), put up new signs and move forward by extending the trail east and west.

This is what a closed trail looks like, and its part of the The Circuit.

Burlington County Bike Plan – Map Your Comments

Burlington County’s Bicycle Master Plan team wants your participation. Following public meetings held in January, Cross County Connection TMA has released an online comment map and survey for you to sound off on where you want bikeways in the county. We want to hear where you want to go, your concerns and suggestions. Both the map and survey can be found on the project homepage:

This is the first ever Bicycle Master Plan for the county, so participation at this stage has a real impact on the plan’s outcome. Help us ensure meaningful access to the Circuit in Burlington County by putting your thoughts on the map.

We would also like to thank everyone that came out to January’s public meetings.

For more information or to submit comments contact:
Graydon Newman, CCCTMA


Upcoming Burlington County Bike Plan Meeting

Wednesday January 30th 4-7 PM at the Roebling Museum

If you live, work or bike in Burlington County then let your voice be heard. The County in cooperation with the Cross County TMA is developing a bicycle master plan that will identify a proposed county bikeway network (on and off road) and will include implementation strategies for planning and funding. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2014 and a website has been created for the plan.

Bicyclists boarding the RiverLINE at Beverly Edgewater Park Station

At the next public meeting in Roebling you can talk to the project team about bicycle corridors, barriers to bicycling and gaps in the existing and proposed county bikeway network:

Wednesday, January 30th, 4PM-7PM, 
Roebling Museum, 100 Second Avenue Roebling, NJ 
(Adjacent to the Roebling RiverLINE Station)

As a side note, any bridge or engineering fan should check out the Roebling Museum. Although the museum is technically closed until the Spring, you will be able to walk by some of the exhibits to get to the meeting room.

For more informaton on the Burlington County Bicycle Master Plan contact:
Graydon Newman, AICP
[email protected]