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Philadelphia's Trail Master Plan Prioritizes 105 trail miles (Plan Philly)

By Christine Fisher in Plan Philly

May 2, 2013.  A new plan guiding Philadelphia’s bike and recreation trail expansion could be in place as early as this June. That's when the Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC) will likely vote on adopting the Philadelphia Trails Master Plan.

Like the Philadelphia Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan, which now guides road-facility changes, the Philadelphia Trails Master Plan will guide off-road trail developments.  It will also prioritize the construction of proposed trails.

At the Greater Philadelphia Pedestrian and Bicycle Summit early this week, Jeannette Brugger of PCPC shed some light on the plan. 

The Trails Master Plan proposes the city add 75 trails, roughly 105 trail miles, to the existing network of more than 200 miles of trails. Today the existing trails are comprised of 150 miles of soft surfaces and 60 miles of hard, “bikeable” surfaces. Most of the existing and proposed miles are on Parks and Recreation Department land. 

In draft form, the Philadelphia Trails Master Plan prioritizes the proposed trails based on existing commitments, demand, feasibility, connectivity and cost, Brugger said. At the moment 19 miles of trail have first priority. Forty-one miles of trails are listed as second priority, and another 40 miles have third priority ranking. 

Brugger said this city-led prioritization of trail development will help to ensure funding is used appropriately and that the city is meetings its trail expansion goals. 

Some of the proposed 75 trails are already in the works. Just seven miles of trail are under construction or renovation. Eight-and-a-half miles of trail are in design, and 13.5 miles of trail are in the planning stage. 

According to the PCPC blog, the Trails Master Plan will pay close attention to “on-road connectivity and an integrated system.” Among other benefits, this focus is meant to ensure that neighborhoods far “inland” from the trails will be able to access off-road trails via existing or proposed on-road bike facilities.

Brugger said PCPC is developing a Philadelphia Trail Committee with partner organizations who will oversee Trail Master Plan implementation.

Tags: Planning
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