What is the name of that trail? For years the loosely connected paths surrounding the Cooper River suffered from an identity crisis. When you mentioned the bike trail at Cooper River Park most people thought of the loop between US 130 and Cuthbert Blvd. And for many the loop meant either bicycling on North Park/South Park Drive or the path between those roads and the river.
But there are some in the Camden County Park system who have a grander vision, of a unified and cohesive trail. There is movement on multiple fronts. On the west side of Route 130 a network of trails and bike lanes is coming together between the highway and the Ben Franklin Bridge. An organization called Friends of Cooper River Park West is working with the County to developed the long-neglected river section. And in Haddonfield a trail along the Cooper River down to Crows Woods Fields has been proposed and is in the County's draft trails plan.
And now we have a map! The Cooper River Trail map will be used to help identify the issues that need to be resolved to create a great regional trail. The laundry list of issues will be formidable but many can be resolved at a relatively low cost. Examples include posting navigational signage, construction of ADA compliant curb cuts, and painting bike lanes and crosswalks.
Still, some capital improvements will be required, not least of which is making the Route 130/Park Drive crossing safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. Some trail gaps will have to be planned and programmed along with the rehabilitation of older path segments. Coordinating these improvements with improvements to adjacent roads and parks will help ease the financial burden and speedup the timeline of major projects.
With a vision and a pretty good head start, we are in a position to make the Greater Philadelphia Region's newest regional trail a reality.