Twice a year, the Circuit Coalition convenes for a two hour meeting to review progress and accomplishments from the six months. Here is a review of the Semi-Annual Circuit Trails Coalition Meeting held on November 19th:
Traditional, Shared, and Social Media Report
Brianna Taylor of Devine and Partners (D+P) reported that Circuit media efforts have reached over 130 million people through more than 141 online and broadcast placements. These media placements have an estimated value of over $400,000. The D+P team also reported that the Circuit Trails' hashtag: #onthecircuit has gained traction across social media platforms. Additionally, social media advertising and boosted Facebook posts have been very successful, generating 82% of all Facebook likes. See her presentation here.
Branding Campaign Update
As discussed by Katie Harris of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, the new Circuit Trails logo was soft-launched at the end of October! The "Proud to Trail" campaign and new website will launch in the spring with the opening of trail season.
Chris Linn of DVRPC reported that 28 miles of Circuit Trails were completed between May 2012 and May 2014 and 12 miles were completed between May 2014 and November 2015. Forty-one miles are expected to be finished by late 2018. Nearly one hundred miles are in the pipeline which means they are either under design or studies have been completed.
Tom Sexton, Liz Sewell, and Anya Saretzky of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy reported on the trail user surveys program. Survey types include trail-side, intercept, focus group and phone. Results show that most trail users are unaware of the Circuit Trails and that trail use results in significant economic impact for local communities.
DVRPC Trail Use Count Update
DVRPC’s Shawn Megill Legendre reported that there are now 12 permanent counters on trails throughout the region. Trails that are better connected and are close to where people live and work have higher usage levels. All of the data is public and can be found here for permanent counters and here for short term counters.
Case Studies and Lessons Learned
Olivia Glenn of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Sue Brennan of Coopers Ferry Partnership, and Jack Sworaski of Camden County presented about the Cooper River Trail which runs through five municipalities. Their lessons learned can be summed up as “PEDAL” - Persistence & Partnerships, Easements & Education, Diversified funding streams and programming, Advocacy, Local engagement.
Paul Gordon from Bucks County Planning Commission and Michael Stokes from Montgomery County Planning Commission spoke about the cross-county partnership that is building the Pennypack Trail. Key takeaways include using county dollars, saving money by keeping labor in-house, and growing public support by building the trail one section at a time to let people see what the trail will look like.
On May 21, 2015, 48 members of the Circuit Coalition attended the semi-annual meeting in Cherry Hill, New Jersey at the Camden County Environmental Resource Center.
Chris Linn of Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission opened the meeting by giving an overview of the status of the Circuit and an update on the Regional Trails Program Round 2 as of May 2015. Chris reported that between May 2014 and May 2015, the Circuit added 6.5 miles and improved 1.4 miles of trails. Round 2 of the Regional Trail Program, which is $6.5 million, will provide $2.15 M to the four New Jersey counties, of which $1.5 M will be dedicted to trails in urban areas and $610,000 unrestricted. It will also provide $4.35 M in the five Pennsylvania counties, of which $3.1 M will be dedicated to urban areas and $1.25 unrestricted.
He also provided an update on Pennsylvania trail projects will be receiving some of the RTP funding this summer and which ones will be moved onto the TIP and be eligible for federal funds. Shawn Megill Legendre presented about the NJ projects. More about this effort will follow in a future blog post.
Sarah Clark Stuart provided an update on which trail projects are likely to be completed over the next 18 months (by December 2016.) It includes about 27 projects that will be adding over 30 miles of new trails throughout the 9 counties. Sarah presented on the new projects that will be coming online in Pennsylvania. Matt Norris presented on the projects that will be coming online in New Jersey. A table of all complete and anticipated projects is here.
Sarah also presented on a telephone survey on Circuit awareness recently conducted by Rails to Trails Conservancy and one a separate survey conducted on depth of support for public investment in Circuit trails projects.
Nick Rogers of the Clean Air Council provided an overview of a new multimodal transportation route planner website developed in conjunction with Azevea. The website, called GoPhillyGo.org is in beta mode and users are welcome to check in out and provide feedback.
Christine Reimert of Devine & Partners reported on the ongoing effort being led by D&P and Rails to Trails Conservancy to increase the profile of the Circuit brand and described the Summer 2015 plans and activities. One item of note is that they have prepared a new postcard to garner public support for connecting the Circuit. These postcards are designed for tabling events and can be used to ask people to provide their names and email addresses. If you would like to have postcards mailed to you, please send an email to
To wrap up, Matt Norris presented two out of four videos that Tri-State Transportation Campaign has prepared on the Circuit. The four videos are: The Circuit - What Is It?; The Circuit - A Community Place; The Circuit - Getting There and The Circuit - It's Happening