For most people, the caged bike/ped bridge over I-76 (as seen in the photo slide show) in King of Prussia is the closest they have ever gotten to the Chester Valley Trail (CVT) in Montgomery County.
The bridge opened in 2004 when the I-76 and 202 interchange was upgraded. (The other trail bridge is Norfolk Southern's Trenton Cutoff.) And, slowly but surely, the Chester Valley Trail has been built to the west to meet Chester County's 13 miles of trail and in hopefully in two years, will extend eastward to meet up directly with the Schuylkill River Trail in Norristown.
Currently, in Montgomery County, the eastern edge of the CVT is South Gulph Road and the westen end is at South Warner Road. As part of our "Explore the Circuit" series of rides and walks, on October 18th, about twenty of us joined Mike Stokes, Assistant Director of the Montgomery County Planning Commission to see how the county was going to align the Chester Valley Trail eastward to the SRT.
We set out on a beautiful windy afternoon from the S. Warner Road trailhead (nice parking lot with toilet facilities) and walked east, over the expressway to South Gulph Road. We then crossed over to Bill Smith (a former Supervisor) Boulevard and took a look at the historic King of Prussia Inn (which was moved years ago from its original location.) Afterwards, we walked through the (hugely wide) PECO right of way that the trail will go through and then along Hansen Access Road. Fortuitously, we had among our group a SETPA planner who told us that one of four possible alignments for the KOP trolley extension might also use the PECO ROW, but it won't interfere with the trail. At the junction of Hanson Access Road and Henderson Road, the trail will go over Henderson Road on second bike/ped bridge and land on an inactive rail line. The trail will continue up this old rail line and eventually meet up at DeKalb Street and cross the Schuylkill River on the DeKalb Bridge where it will meet with Schuylkill River Trail at the Norristown Transportation Center.
It was a lovely walk and everyone enjoyed learning more about this much anticipated connection between two Circuit trunk trails. Montco hopes to advertise the project in 2015 and estimates that the project will take one year to complete. The Bicycle Coalition hopes to return next spring and host another walk of the section from Henderson Road to Norristown. Many thanks to Mike Stokes for sharing his deep knowledge of the project, the map below and some of his photos.
On Friday, October 17th, Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation & Natural Resources announced $33 million in grants awarded through their Community Conservation Partnerships Program for trails, parks and open space. Ten awards (out of 219) were for Circuit trail projects, totalling $1,995,500. The ten projects included four for construction, five for planning, and one for acquisition. Listed below are the ten grants awarded to Circuit trails. Full list of all grants can be downloaded here
We offer a hearty congrats to all of our partners who received this funding! It's terrific and we are excited that so many worthy projects are going to be moving forward! And many thanks to our hardworking colleagues at DCNR for making these awards possible. Thank you DCNR!!!
Doylestown Township, $326,000, Development of the Neshaminy Creek Greenway Trail in New Britain Borough and New Britain and Doylestown townships, Bucks County. Work to include the construction of approximately 0.75 mile of trail and bridge to connect Upper State Road in Doylestown Township to the New Britain Train Station in New Britain Borough; ADA access, landscaping, project sign, and other related site improvements. Stephanie Mason, (215) 348-9915 ext. 1033.
Solebury Township, $500,000, Further development of the Route 202 Gateway Trail in Solebury Township, Bucks County. Work to include the construction of a 0.3-mile trail segment from the Route 202 Connector Road to Magill's Hill Park on Chapel Road in Solebury Township; ADA access, landscaping, project sign, and other related site improvements. Dennis H. Carney, (215) 297-5656.
Phoenixville Borough, $481,900, Further development of the Schuylkill River Trail in Phoenixville Borough, Chester County and Upper Providence Township, Montgomery County. Work to include the construction of approximately 0.2 mile of trail across the PA Route 29 Mont Clare Bridge to connect Phoenixville Borough to Upper Providence Township; ADA access, landscaping, project sign, and other related site improvements. Jean Krack, (610) 933-8801 ext. 111.
Philadelphia City, $400,000, Development of the Frankford Creek Greenway in Philadelphia City. Work to include construction of approximately 1.2 miles of trail from the intersection of Wheatsheaf Lane and Aramingo Avenue to the intersection of Lewis Street and Delaware Avenue in Philadelphia City; ADA access, landscaping, project sign, and other related site improvements. Robert Armstrong, (215) 683-0229.
Chester County, $50,000, Prepare a Trail Study to evaluate options to connect the Chester Valley Trail to the Struble and Brandywine trails in Downingtown Borough, Chester County; Caln, East Caln, East Bradford, West Bradford, and West Whiteland townships, Delaware County. Work to include a written, bound report. Brian E. Styche, (610) 344-6285.
Concord Township, $40,000, Prepare a Trail Study to evaluate the options to develop a 6-mile multi-use trail along the Octorara Railroad line in Concord Township and Chester Heights Borough, Delaware County. Work to include a written, bound report. Brenda L. Lamanna, (610) 459-8911 ext. 102.
Haverford Township, $45,000, Prepare a Trail Study to evaluate options to extend the Darby Creek Trail north to the Haverford Reserve and south to the Upper Darby Township line in Haverford Township, Delaware County. Work to include a written, bound report. Tim E. Denny, (610) 446-9397.
Clean Air Council, $30,000, Prepare a Trail Study to evaluate options to extend the Cobbs Creek Connector Trail - Segment B from the Blue Bell Inn at Woodland Avenue and Island Avenue to the Cibotti Recreation Center at 77th Street and Elmwood Avenue. Work to include a written, bound report. Nick Rogers, (215) 567-4004 ext. 110.
Schuylkill River Development Corporation, $50,000, Prepare a Trail Study to evaluate options for extending the Schuylkill River Trail along the eastern bank of the Schuylkill River from Christian Street to the Grays Ferry Crescent Trail at 34th Street in Philadelphia City, Philadelphia County. Work to include a written, bound report. Joseph R. Syrnick PE, tel:215-222-6030-ext.102
Montgomery County, $73,000, Payment toward the acquisition of three parcels totaling approximately 16 acres along Route 422 in Lower Pottsgrove Township, Montgomery County for open space and access to the Schuylkill River and proposed Schuylkill River Trail. Michael M. Stokes, (610) 278-3729.
In Chester County, you can bike over 12 miles of off road trail in along Route 202, from approximately Warner Road to Exton. But, did you know that the Chester Valley Trail is going to connect all the way to the Schuylkill River Trail in Norristown? Currently, the trail is complete in Montgomery County only from Warner Road to South Gulph Road across I-76. Montgomery County Planning Commission has federal, state, and county funding in hand to build the trail from South Gulph Road across King of Prussia over the DeKalb Street Bridge to the Norristown Transportation Center. That project is in final design and should start in 2015.
We've asked Michael Stokes of Montgomery Planning Commission to lead us on guided walk of the alignment of the trail on Saturday, October 18th at 1pm. This walk will be approximately 8 miles long; from the Warner Road trailhead to Boro Line Road and back. (We aren't walking all the way to Norristown because a bridge over Boro Line Road is still under construction.)
This walk is free for Bicycle Coalition members and $20 for non-members (first year's membership is included). Please sign up here
October 1st and 2nd were momentus days for Schuylkill Banks. A preview for 200 was held the evening of October 1st and the formal ribbon cutting on October 2nd. After eight years of planning, studying, designing, fundraising and construction, the Boardwalk opened to the delight of thousands who came to "walk on water."
The Boardwalk received high praise and extensive coverage. Links to most articles can be found on the Connect The Circuit's front page under "Circuit News." The AP story has a great quote from the Circuit Coalition's Vice Chair Patrick Starr
Patrick Starr, executive vice president of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, said as he walked the trail that he didn't realize how much of a connection it made with the neighborhood.
"It transformed it into a great place that everybody wants to be at," said Starr, who is also involved with The Circuit, a network of 300 miles of trails in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. "It's opened a whole new playground for Philadelphians."
The wind and the rain did not dampen spirits at last week's ribbon cutting of of the Chester Valley Trail's phase 3 at Exton Park. County Commissioners, Bike Chester County, DCNR, West Whiteland Township and others were in attendence.
The new segment is only 3/4 mile long. But it connects the main trail to a long orphaned segment that stretches from Main St Exton to Iron Lake Rd and includes a pedestrian activated signalized crossing of Lincoln Highway (Business 30). As a result the trail has expanded to a length of 13 miles between Exton and King Of Prussia.
What makes the Chester Valley Trail so critical is that is in the County's main commercial corridor that is sandwiched between Route 202 and SEPTA's Paoli-Thorndale Line. As a result the trail provides a low stress non-motorized connection between the corridor's office complexes, retail establishments, residential developments and parks.
Chester County now is looking to expand further west. Design work to extend the tail up to the crossing of the Exton Bypass will begin next year. Meanwhile Montgomery County is part way through design for the four mile connection to the Schuylkill River Trail at the Norristown Transportation Center. Construction is expected to start in 2015. The Circuit Coalition will be hosting a walk through the future trail alignment on October 18. Bring your camera to take some before shots so you can brag that you walked it first.
Trail Update – Building and Planning the Network in Philadelphia
What are the next big trail projects in Philadelphia? What is in store for trails near your house?
Hear the answers directly from City and non-profit development organizations that plan and build Philadelphia’s trail network. Staff from the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, Parks & Recreation, the Schuylkill River Development Corporation, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, and other entities will share updates on how trail projects are envisioned, prioritized and developed; which segments will be constructed next; and the vision for the citywide trail network.
Academy of Natural Sciences
5:30 – 6pm - Registration and Refreshments
6 – 7:30pm - Program
This is the fourth annual ride, and over a dozen people have been part of it since the first group left Calais, Maine in 2011. This year, four of the riders are from the Philadelphia area.
The first day’s ride, 49 miles to Wilmington, Del., includes part of the Circuit. The group will be among the first to ride along the new Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk, just ahead of the community celebration in the afternoon, and later in the day ride through the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.
Key events during the week include a Monday morning press conference and photo event with Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, a big supporter of trails, a Monday afternoon rally in Perryville, Md., in support of a bike-friendly crossing over the Susquehanna River, and a Wednesday Happy Hour with Annapolis, Anne Arundel county and state officials.
“Every year we get to know our communities and landmarks better, exploring the Eastern Seaboard at a pace that allows us to connect with the rich history, culture and nature of the region. We bring tens of thousands of tourism dollars to the communities we visit and aim to spur further greenway development toward a healthy and sustainable future transportation system,” said Dennis Markatos-Soriano, the East Coast Greenway Alliance’s executive director.
About 60 million people live within 25 miles of the East Coast Greenway, which receives an estimated 10 million visits each year. Many cities along the trail have a bike-friendly designation from the League of American Bicyclists – Philadelphia is one! -- and users can follow the route to commute to work and school, or to run errands, or to head out on longer adventures.
The creation of the East Coast Greenway has spurred officials at the state, county and local levels to create safer routes for pedestrians and bicyclists along the route as well as to connect to other trails, leveraging their value.
The East Coast Greenway Alliance, a non-profit organization based in Durham, N.C. that is coordinating the development of this greenway, has been organizing week-long rides along the route since 2011. The first Week-a-Year ride was from the Canadian border to Portland, Maine, and the goal is to finish in Key West in 2019.
Anyone interested in the 2015 ride can email the East Coast Greenway Alliance at [email protected]. More information about the East Coast Greenway is at www.greenway.org.