Join us on April 15th for a celebration of trails! In just one month the Circuit Trails will take a major step forward with the launch of a new awareness campaign, encouraging people to use, visit and share their stories about the Circuit. Along with a new look and feel, the Circuit Trails will be launching a new, user-friendly website at CircuitTrails.org. Please plan to join us on April 15 at 11 a.m. at Race Street Pier for a celebration of the return of trail season and the unveiling of our new look!
There’s more to love than ever before. Throughout the weekend there will be events across the region to celebrate the opening of trail season. Visit our events page to find out what is happening on the Circuit Trails during Opening Weekend (April 16 & 17) and get out on the trails this season!
Hip-Hip Hooray! According to the Alliance for Biking and Walking’s new report, Philadelphia ranked seventh among big cities that bike or walk to work with 10.6 percent of the population cycling or strolling to work. That’s worth celebrating!
According to the report, 8.5 percent of Philadelphians walk to work, which places us sixth in the country in the walking category. Under the biking category, 2.1 percent of Philadelphians commute to work via bicycle, which places us in 10th place. The cities that beat us were Boston, Washington D.C., San Francisco, New York, Portland and Seattle.
In recent posts, we’ve spotlighted Philadelphians who commute via bicycle such as Stuart Leon, Mark Fallon and Jonathan DeHart. “Commuting by bike benefits one’s health and fitness,” Jonathan DeHart told us. “As humans we were designed to physically work hard and find time to unwind for R&R. We really need to be outside daily, moving and exerting ourselves! This is especially important for those of us with primarily desk jockey jobs.”
A car-free commute has a lot of benefits – both personally and for the environment. With this beautiful weather we’ve been having, there has never been a better time to dust off your bike, or walking shoes and start a new commute to work. Head over to http://connectthecircuit.org/ to plan your new commute #onthecircuit and help the City of Brotherly Love climb the rankings in next year’s report.
To learn more about the report, read Philly Mag’s take here.
When it comes to defending cyclists around the Greater Philadelphia region, Stuart Leon is the go-to guy. Stuart has been in bicycle crash law for nearly 30 years and works exclusively for bicyclists. When he’s not in the court room defending his clients, you can find him cycling on the Schuylkill River Trail with his wife and daughter. Here’s what Stuart had to say about his involvement with the Circuit Trails and bicycle safety:
Can you describe your connection to the Circuit Trails?
I've been riding from the Art Museum to Manayunk and Conshohocken since the late 1980's. I first learned about the Circuit trails through the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and have been a fan ever since!
What is your favorite trail?
I was overjoyed when the Schuylkill River Trail opened from Locust Street in Center City connecting me directly to Kelly Drive. I use that trail recreationally and for commuting every week – that’s probably my favorite. I value the safe and easy access to the trail at Kelly Drive instead of working my way over to and up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on the streets.
Are you a part of any cyclist groups?
I belong to the Philadelphia Bicycle Messenger Association. I attended the Manayunk Bridge opening with my cyclist group and am looking forward to the exciting kick-off event on April 15!
Can you discuss primary threats to bicycle safety?
As a lawyer working only for bicycle accident and crash victims, I see the worst case scenarios. The primary threats to a bicyclist's safety are the following:
Where does your passion for the Circuit stem from?
I love the Circuit Trails because they are designed for the commuter and provide a safe path to many parts of the city and suburbs.
Photo Credit: Suart Leon
We are very excited to shine the Circuit Spotlight on our very own Patrick Starr! When Patrick is not leading statewide programming at Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) and helping to make future connections to the Circuit Trails, you can find him enjoying the trails on his bike. We caught up with Patrick to learn more about his role at PEC and the Circuit Trails. Here’s what he had to say:
What is your role at PEC? Can you discuss a few of the task forces you are a part of?
I am statewide vice president for programming. Getting Pennsylvanians outside for recreation and to enjoy natural resources is a major thrust of PEC’s work. We are working on multi-purpose trail networks in several other regions of Pennsylvania in addition to the Circuit Trails. Most notably we are a leader in the Industrial Heartland Trail Coalition connecting much of western PA with Ohio and West Virginia, as well as, a northeast PA trail forum.
How long have you been Pennsylvania Vice-Chair of the Circuit Trails Coalition? How did you first get involved?
The Circuit Trails Coalition first elected state Vice-Chairs in 2013 and I have been serving in the role since. I have been involved with the Circuit Trails since its inception in 2012. PEC played a key role in preparing a TIGER grant in 2009-10 to fund the “regional trail network” that was the precursor of the Circuit Trails. We collaborated on the application with the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and many of the other current players in the Circuit Trails Coalition.
From your perspective, what makes the Circuit Trails so unique?
What makes the Circuit Trails so unique is that it is a “vision” for a complete system of connected trails, yet even BIGGER is that there is a coordinated group of people who are organized to make that happen. It really matters that it isn’t just a “vision,” but more importantly that dozens of non-profits, numerous government agencies and hundreds of leaders are collaborating to build out this system and make it excellent!
What’s your favorite trail to cycle on?
The trail I ride most is the Schuylkill River Trail because it’s close to me via Schuylkill Banks and allows me to reach fairly distant points in Chester and Montgomery Counties. It’s scenic and takes me to interesting towns such as Manayunk, Conshohocken and Norristown, as well as, to Valley Forge National Historical Park. It’s a fun ride with all sorts of users, so it’s also really good people watching!
Are there any trails in development that you are particularly excited for?
A longtime favorite of mine is what I call the Delaware River Trail in Philadelphia. I have been personally involved in creating it since 2000 and serve as a board member of the Delaware River City Corporation which is building a big chunk of it together with the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation. Segments of this larger trail are known as the Port Richmond Trail, the Baxter Trail and the Kensington & Tacony Trail. When complete, this trail will connect to Spring Garden Street Greenway, another pet project of mine. Several new segments of this trail will be opening in 2016 and 2017.
What are your goals for the Circuit Trails in 2016?
To build more segments of the Circuit Trails! Also to raise awareness about the re-brand of the Circuit Trails. I think that the Circuit Trails has attained such viability and momentum that the re-brand reflects that we’ve already advanced from “a great idea” to an inevitable reality. That just makes me thrilled!