In less than a month, the Manayunk Bridge trail will open to great fanfare. This long awaited re-purposing of a SEPTA bridge (originally built by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1902) is a fantastic achievement and testament to a wonderful collaboration among trail advocates and many agencies, jurisdictions and non-profits, including SEPTA, PennDOT, the City of Philadelphia (Parks and Recreation, Streets and Mayor's Office of Transportation & Utilities), Lower Merion Township Commissioners and Township Planning and Parks staff, Montgomery County Commissioners and Montgomery County Planning Commission, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, and the Circuit Coalition, in particular, the Manayunk Development Corportation and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. The trail was built with funds dedicated by PennDOT, Pennsylvania Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources, the City of Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Lower Merion Township and the William Penn Foundation. The trail was designed by Whitman Requardt & Associates.
Many people have asked about the status of the various trail segments that lead up to the Manayunk Bridge.
As one can see from the map above, the Manayunk Bridge is on the same rail bed as that of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail on the Lower Merion side, and the Ivy Ridge Trail on the Philadelphia side. It also provides a connection to city streets and Schuylkill River Canal bike path on the Philadelphia side. There are a number of trail segments on both sides of the Schuylkill River that lead to the Manayunk Bridge but gaps do exist. A summary of the status of these various trail segments is below:
The Ivy Ridge Trail lies along the same right of way as the Manayunk Bridge on the old Pennsylvania Railroad inactive rail line. When constructed, it will connect the Manayunk Bridge to the Ivy Ridge SEPTA station parking lot. A feasibility study was conducted by Whitman Requardt & Associates for the City of Philadelphia and Manayunk Development Corporation on this segment in 2014.
The Cynwyd Heritage Trail was completed in 2011 and is owned and maintained by Lower Merion Township.
The Cynwyd Spur is a small section that will connect the Cynwyd Heritage Trail to the Pencoyd Trail and Bridge under construction by O'Neill Properties. This trail has to traverse a steep grade from the Heritage Trail down to the Schuylkill River. Lower Merion Township sought and received funding from DVRPC's Regional Trail Fund and PA DCNR to conduct a feasibility study of this segment. The study is complete and going to be presented to LMT Commissioners in November 2015. Once that presentation is complete, the final copy of the feasibility study will be posted online.
The Pencoyd Bridge and Trail is being developed by O'Neill Properties as part of a residential development project that is currently under construction. Lower Merion Township required O'Neill Properties to rehabilitate the old Pencoyd Bridge and make it publicly accessible to all users (residents and the public). The Township also required that a trail be constructed in front of the development to connect the Pencoyd Bridge to the end of the O'Neill property to its north. The project is expected to be completed by May 2016.
The Wissahickon Gateway is probably one of the most challenging gaps in the Schuylkill River Trail. It was named among the Pennsylvania's top ten trail gaps. The trail segment exists between the East Falls and Manayunk sections of Philadelphia where the Fairmount Bikeway (AKA Schuylkill River Trail) narrows to a sidewalk and terminates on a busy arterial street. Bicyclists wishing to continue east or west along the trail must navigate a narrow bikeway, weave through passengers disembarking and embarking from SEPTA buses, and avoid cars entering and exiting from eleven (11) curb cuts along Ridge Avenue and Main Street. According to trail use statistics, trail advocates have found that while the Montgomery County stretch of trail enjoys 12,500 weekly users and the East Falls section 15,000 weekly users, the area between these two sections only sees 2,500 weekly users. This drop off is directly attributable to the gap at Ridge Avenue and the Wissahickon Creek.
An engineering anaylsis for the Wissahickon Gateway was completed in 2013. The Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department considered both a "street-side" option (in green) and a "river-front" option (in yellow.) Either alternative requires building a new crossing over the Wissahickon Creek and weaving the trail between a PECO substation and SEPTA bus terminal. The cost of the street-side option is estimated at $2.2-2.5 M for approximately 2000’ of new trail.
SEPTA, PECO and a private property owner own the parcels between the Canoe Club driveway and the Pencoyd Bridge. Once the trail's right of way is obtained by the City of Philadelphia, closing this gap will be the last remaining step in linking 7 miles of trail to the east to Schuylkill Banks and 20 miles west to Phoenixville.
It’s the moment runners, cyclists and pedestrians have all been waiting for! The Manayunk Bridge will officially open as a pedestrian and bicycle trail connecting the Cynwyd Trail in Lower Merion to Manayunk and the Schuylkill River Trail on October 30. The bridge will serve as a key link in the Circuit Trails, a unique connection between the city and the suburbs, and a site for spectacular views of the river valley. Join us on October 30 at 11 a.m. to celebrate this major milestone and be one of the first people to cross the bridge. Be sure to join the Facebook event here for more information and updates.
Later today, a ribbon-cutting will celebrate the completion of the Schuylkill Canal Towpath Restoration Project, a unique reconstruction of the historic canal towpath. The trail, located in the villages of Mont Clare and Port Providence in Upper Providence Township, serves as an extension of the Schuylkill River Trail and a key trail segment in the Circuit. This project, undertaken by Montgomery County, officially completes the Schuylkill River Trail from Philadelphia to Phoenixville, and provides a unique trail connection from Lock 60 and the Lock Tenders House to Montgomery County’s Upper Schuylkill Valley Park.
This 1.75-mile project, which includes the restoration of the Red Bridge, the installation of a 125-foot long pedestrian bridge, and the restoration of the towpath to its original width with reinforced embankments, is part of Montgomery County’s 10-mile Trail Expansion Program. Funding for the project was provided by Montgomery County, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and William Penn Foundation. This project marks another milestone in the completion of the Circuit!
WHEN: Tuesday, July 28, 2015 at 2:30 p.m.
WHERE: Red Bridge
Intersection of Canal Street and Port Providence Road in Upper Providence Township
CyclePhilly – an app produced by Code for Philly, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, DVRPC, Septa and the City of Philadelphia – logs voluntarily-shared cyclist trip data. DVRPC recently released six months of that data, revealing which routes cyclists like best. The data was gathered from 220 unique CyclePhilly users and 8,340 individual trips.
Some highlights include:
|Activity||Number of Trips||Top Philly Street|
|Total Trips||866||Spring Garden, between 9th & 10th|
|Commuting||672||Spring Garden, between 6th & 7th|
|Doing Errands||68||Pine, between 15th & 17th|
|Exercise||65||Schuylkill River Trail, between Art Museum & 25th|
|Social||99||Spring Garden, between 9th & 10th|
Read the full article on Plan Philly here to learn more about the app and what’s in store for the future of biking in Philadelphia: http://planphilly.com/articles/2015/05/06/dvrpc-releases-new-cyclephilly-data-on-which-streets-cyclists-use-most
- - -
When: Saturday, May 9 from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (volunteer training session from 8:30-9:00 a.m.)
Where: Schuylkill River Trail (between the Water Works and East Falls)
What: High school cyclists will be engaging in a scavenger hunt competition along the Schuylkill River Trail (between Water Works and East Falls). The cyclists will stop along the route to complete challenges. Volunteers are needed to run these challenge stops. The volunteers will provide some quick info about watersheds or the Circuit trail network and then lead the students in a fun challenge (i.e. wheelbarrow race, etc.). Volunteers will need to keep track of each team’s points. Volunteers should arrive via bike in order to reach their challenge locations.
BONUS: A free lunch from Cosmic Cafe will be provided at noon. No experience necessary!
Join Rails-to-Trails and Cadence Youth Cycling #onthecircuit
Calling all Phoenixville-area community members! This weekend, you are invited to head downtown to for a whole host of family fun events on and around the new two-mile trail segment of the Schuylkill River Trail. Activities include everything from a bike tour along the new trail, a bike check and a complementary bike helmet fitting station to live music, chalk and plein air art (painting outdoors!) and more. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. near the Walking Bridge at the Foundry and the Phoenixville Farmer’s Market. For more information, visit http://www.schuylkillrivertowns.com/new-events/2015/4/25/phoenixville-trail-opening-celebration.
Philadelphia is the hosting the East Coast Greenway’s State of the Greenway Summit on Friday, May 1! The Summit, held at Lloyd Hall, 1 Boathouse Row, will celebrate Philadelphia as a leader in trail development, as well as several new world-class sections of the East Coast Greenway (ECG) here in the City.
The Summit will feature special remarks from regional and national bike-ped and transportation leaders, including:
When completed, the 2,900-mile greenway, which connects with the region’s Circuit trails, will link Philadelphia to major cities throughout the eastern seaboard. In PA, a car-free, 55-mile route runs from Trenton, N.J. to Wilmington, Del., through Center City Philadelphia.
Get your tickets today! Be sure to wear comfortable shoes to the Summit and take part in a walk along the Schuylkill River Trail to a reception at the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk after the Summit. The Summit and reception are open to the public; registration is $10 for ECGA members and $20 for non-members. To learn more or purchase tickets visit greenway.org.
Summit: 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Ride/Walk to reception: 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Reception at Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk: 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The official opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of the new two-mile segment of the Schuylkill River Trail in Phoenixville is today, representing another significant step forward in the continued development of the Circuit. If you're in the neighborhood around 4 p.m., join us for the festivities! The ribbon cutting will take place at the Walking Bridge at the Foundry located at 2 N. Main Street in Phoenixville. Immediately following the ribbon cutting ceremony, participants in the Sly Fox Brewing Co. "SRT Spree" will kayak from Riverfront Park to Lock 60 then bike to the new trail head to demonstrate how easy it is to transition from river to trail (read more about the Sly Fox Brewing Co. "SRT Spree" here).
The newly developed Phoenixville trail is a recreation and transportation path for cyclists, runners and pedestrians, connecting the local community to the riverfront and neighboring towns. As a key link in the region's trail network, the new segment closes what has been viewed as a high-priority gap in the Schuylkill River Trail, connecting the Phoenixville Borough to over 60 miles of finished trail, including a 26-mile stretch from Philadelphia to Phoenixville. When fully complete, the Schuylkill River Trail will total approximately 130 miles from Philadelphia to Pottsville, comprising a large segment of the Circuit, which will ultimately include 750 miles of multi-use trails through greater Philadelphia and South Jersey.
Funding for the Phoenixville segment of the Schuylkill River Trail was provided by the William Penn Foundation, through the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), and The Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area managed by the Schuylkill River Greenway Association. The Phoenixville segment was designed by Ray Ott and Associates and Campbell Thomas & Company and constructed by the Borough’s Public Works Department.
Here’s a great way to start your weekend… today marks day 2 of the Sly Fox Brewing Co.’s SRT Spree, a week-long celebration of the recreational opportunities along the SRT or Schuylkill River Trail from Pottsville to Philadelphia. The Sly Fox launch team is traveling the trail via various methods such as hiking, biking, kayaking, horseback and more. Each day of the journey, the team is making stops to take part in efforts, such as trail clean-ups, to help build awareness and appreciation for the trail. Community members are encouraged to travel along any segment of the SRT Spree journey and to participate in any of the volunteer clean-up locations.
One stop is particularly important, as a critical two-mile segment of the Schuylkill River Trail is opening in Phoenixville on Monday, April 20 with a ribbon cutting at 4 p.m. On Monday, “Spree” participants will kayak from Riverfront Park to Lock 60 then bike to the trail head to demonstrate how easy it is to transition from river to trail.
Additionally, Sly Fox Brewing Co. has joined forces with the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area for the release of its newest canned beer, SRT Ale, which will hit the market appropriately on Earth Day, April 22, the final day of the SRT Spree. Proceeds from the sale of SRT Ale will benefit the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area. For more information on how to get involved, visit www.slyfoxbeer.com/index.php/front/srtspree.
The Schuylkill River Heritage Area Board of Directors recently announced Silas A. Chamberlin of Allentown, Pa., as the new executive director to lead the National and State Heritage Area. The Schuylkill River Heritage Area celebrates the Shuylkill River watershed as one of America's most significant cultural, historical and industrial regions. Silas previously served as regional director for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR). Prior to that, he served as senior director for the Delaware & Lehigh Heritage Corridor.
While Chamberlin’s projected start date is May 4, current executive director since 2003, Kurt D. Zwikl won’t retire until June 30, allowing for a two-month transition period.
Chamberlin was selected as executive director through an extensive search that began last fall and was conducted by a search committee of the board, in conjunction with executive search firm Leadership Recruiters. He has published numerous articles on the subject of trails and currently has a book manuscript entitled On the Trail: A History of American Hiking, under review for publication. He also has served on Pennsylvania's Statewide Trails Advisory Committee and as an advisor to numerous regional trail organizations.
We are pleased to have Silas Chamberlin formally back with the Circuit Coalition!
300 miles are now complete
The Circuit grew in 2014 through the opening of the following trails:
Eleven Ribbon Cuttings/Trail Openings
Number of Viewers/Readers Reached:
**Huffington Post Viewership: 54,657,952**
Estimated Advertising Value:
**Does not include Huffington Post advertising value**
*All readership, unique viewers and advertising equivalency numbers are estimates based on the best available data
50 Miles in Progress
Circuit Trails in the 9 county region were awarded $13.2 million in federal, state and local funding.
400 Miles to Go
We expect the following trails in the coming years to open:
Lots of dignitaries -- Congressman Chaka Fattah, Senator Vince Hughes, State Rep. Pam Delissio, Montco Commissioners Leslie Richards, Josh Shapiro and Bruce Castor; Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler, Deputy Mayor Mike DiBerardinis, DCNR Deputy Secretary Flood, SEPTA General Manager Joe Casey.
Lots of smiles -
Lots of words about partnerships, colloborations, persistence and getting stuff done! We think Leslie Richards said it best...."This is the coolest project!"
A great day for the Circuit. More photos 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."
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
These pictures were taken from the lower overlook on the Connector Bridge. There is an image for each month over the course of the Boardwalk's construction starting in July 2013. See you at the ribbon cutting on October 2nd at 11:30am!
Next to the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk, the project that most trail enthusiasts are waiting for to kick off is the much anticipated construction of the trail over Manayunk Bridge. The contractor responsible for the Manayunk Bridge trail job, AP Construction, has been working since July (when the Notice to Proceed was issued by the Philadelphia Streets Department) on pre-construction tasks.
Before construction can begin, AP needs to remove contaminated soil, demolish a portion of bridge over the Norfolk Southern lilne and coordinate with SEPTA on fencing and other matters. They are making progress on all three fronts. Once complete, with those logistics, they can start regular construction.
AP has opened their field office on Green Lane.
TIGER is a critical competitive federal grant program that helped build the Connector Bridge, the Schuylkill Banks boarkwalk, the SRT segment in Shawmont, the Port Richmond Trail, the SRT at Bartrams Garden, Walnut Street Bridge, 58th Street Greenway, and bike lanes in Camden. Now, the House Republicans want to ban biking/walking and transit projects from being eligible from TIGER funding.
If it weren't for TIGER, the Circuit would be back in the dark ages.
Tell your Congressman what you think of this brilliant idea by sending a quick email via our friends at Rails to Trails Conservancy.
And click through the photos of the progress being made on the Boardwalk since last summer to appreciate the magnificence of TIGER!