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.
The Circuit Trails are progressing in New Jersey! Last week, the Christie Administration made a significant step for trail development and preservation. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin announced that about $1.1 million in recreational trail grants will be used toward improving trails and enhancing outdoor experiences across the state, including a number of grants for Circuit Trails.
Part of the Recreational Trails Program, the grants aim to improve public access to open space, provide outdoor recreation opportunities, develop trail linkages and create urban and suburban trail corridors.
We’ve compiled a list for you below of the projects that will advance the Circuit, amounting to about $132,000 in Circuit-related grants! To read more about the 2015 trail grants and see the full list of grants, please go to the NJ.gov website.
2015 Approved Recreational Trail Projects on the Circuit Trails:
Burlington County, Delaware River Heritage Trail: $24,000
Camden County Department of Parks, Grove Street Connector Trail: $24,000
Cooper's Ferry Partnership, Camden-Merchantville Circuit Connector Trail: $24,000
Hopewell Township, Lawrence Hopewell Trail Hillman and Christensen Segments: $24,000
Lawrence Hopewell Trail Corporation, Lawrence Hopewell Trail Signage: $24,000
Lawrence Township, Lawrence Hopewell Trail Carson Woods Segment: $12,000
Olivia Glenn does it all. From balancing her career as the South Jersey Metro Regional Manager of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, to her role as a wife and mother of two children under 7-years old, to her newest role as the New Jersey Vice-Chair, Olivia has learned a thing or two about multi-tasking. We interviewed the new NJ Vice-Chair to get to know her better! Here’s what the Camden native had to say:
What’s your role at the New Jersey Conservation Foundation?
My geographic focus comprises the urbanized corridors of Gloucester, Camden, Burlington and Mercer Counties with a special emphasis on the City of Camden. My work includes land preservation, park planning and working with the Circuit Coalition.
How long have you worked on the Circuit Trails?
New Jersey Conservation Foundation has been involved with the Circuit Trails since its inception. I joined the effort in 2014.
What makes the Circuit so unique?
The Circuit Trail enhances our connectivity by making the numerous, regional trail projects part of a larger whole, whereby the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The Circuit Trails also pushes us beyond the conventional notions of “sense of place” that we associate with singular, discrete destinations. The Circuit propels us in a watershed context and helps reinforce that we are all connected.
What’s your favorite Circuit trail?
The Camden Greenway Phase One Loop on the Cooper River Trail… particularly in Farnham Park in Camden. I am a native of the City of Camden, and this park is also where I cultivated my love of nature. It is surreal to have the opportunity in my professional life to improve a place that is so special to me.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned from working on the Circuit Coalition?
I have learned that there are many great examples of trails bringing communities together right here in the Delaware Valley! Trails have been a great nexus to bring together multiple stakeholders, including transportation experts, environmentalists, hospitals, schools and corporations with local communities. One great example on the PA side is the St. Luke's Hospital's tailonthetrail.org initiative on the D&L Trail.
On the NJ side, I think of the wonderful work done in Mercer County on the Lawrence Hopewell Trail where the community, corporations, county government, nonprofits and trail advocates came together to create a great shared space.
Why should NJ residents take time to appreciate the Circuit Trails? What impact does it have for their community?
Getting on the Circuit is good for us on both a personal and a community level. On a personal level, it can improve our health outcomes and make us happier, as studies have shown. On a community level, there are environmental, economic and social benefits. Investing in and giving back to green spaces always gives back! We've seen the benefits of trails on property values and how retail establishments located along trails draw business from trail users. Beyond recreational and economic benefits for a community, trails can be very utilitarian for transportation and commuting.
What is your favorite time of year to experience the Circuit?
October. I love when the leaves change color and it’s comfortable enough to enjoy being outdoors without breaking a sweat…or freezing!
What are your goals for the upcoming year?
Four major goals are: (1) working with resident counties and local partners to secure stable sources of funding, including but not limited to NJTIP, TAP, and TE; (2) promoting the Circuit Trails through social media with partners and trail users so that it is very recognizable to a greater segment of the general population; (3) touting the existing beautiful trails, proposed projects and engaged partners that are in New Jersey; and (4) mobilizing new stakeholders to become Circuit Trails partners.
Photo: Olivia Glenn standing on the newly opened 0.6-mile long Delaware Avenue Extension Trail
Calling all Mercer County residents! The Lawrence Hopewell Trail Board of Trustees is urging workers to leave their car keys at home tomorrow in recognition of national Bike to Work Day; and instead hop on their bikes to commute to work. Trustees of the 22+ mile cycling and walking loop through Hopewell and Lawrence Townships ask their neighbors to consider alternative transportation to work.
That’s not all they are asking! Bicyle enthusiasts are encouraged to do one more thing: take a selfie and share it with others (while being safe!). Ways to share your photos:
Don’t forget to use the hashtag #Onthecircuit if you take the trails to work and share photos!
Located in the heart of Central New Jersey, where Philadelphia Eagles fans somehow co-exist with New York Giants fans sits the expanding Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT). Last week the Friends of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail Corporation cut the ribbon on a on a key segment that links the trail to the East Coast Greenway via the D&R Canal.
LHT Corporation staff have proven to be masters of obtaining and spending available funds. To date 16 miles of the proposed 22 mile trail. With recently awarded construction money in place the corporation hopes to complete the remaining gaps in 2014.
To date most regional multi use trails have been carved out of abandoned rights of way or river corridors. The LHT has successfully partnered with the "Eds and Meds" institutions that dot the local landscape. To fill in the gaps the trail takes advantage of existing open space such county parks as well as residential streets. It is a trail planning strategy that is increasingly taking hold on our densely populated region and the LHT serves as a great demonstration model for future trails on the Circuit.
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.
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.