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Federal transportation funding will fill some of the gaps in the 108-mile trail network linking Philadelphia, Reading, Chester, New Hope, Cherry Hill, and Trenton.

arrow See Map of Philadelphia-area trail networks showing sections receiving funding

arrowThis project was nominated for a Partnership Award as part of the 2010 National Trails Awards, announced at the 20th National Trails Symposium in Chatanooga, TN.

 

Big plan to complete Greater Philadelphia’s trail networks receives funding

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photo of trail along river

Along Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River Trail (photo by Stuart Macdonald)

INTRODUCTION

A coalition of non-profi t organizations, development corporations and municipalities formed a coalition and campaign called Complete the Schuylkill River Trail to create a vision of completing the Schuylkill River Trail within the Philadelphia region. This multi-municipal coalition launched a campaign to raise public awareness about the potential for completing the trail by identifying the needed segments, coordinating outreach to local, state and federal decision makers, and providing a way for the public to express their support.

In February 2010, the City of Philadelphia (as the main applicant), partnering with the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Camden County, and other project sponsors, received a $23 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Of the total, $17.2 million goes to projects in Philadelphia, in order to fill critical gaps in the City's bicycle and pedestrian trail network. The TIGER Grant will fund 65% of the selected seven projects in Philadelphia, with additional funding coming from other federal and state funding sources.

This project exemplifies a multi-jurisdictional and public-private collaboration among a broad range of partners. The TIGER Grant provided an opportunity to capitalize on the years of planning and public education about the compelling public need and demand for a seamless, connected set of riverfront greenways and bicycling and pedestrian facilities.

photo of trail along river

The Schuylkill River Trail threads the urban fabric of bridges,
roadways, railroads, and rivers in downtown Philadelphia

The counties and municipalities as well as numerous non-profit corporations and organizations that have an interest in each of the trail segments, along with the region’s MPO, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) collaborated to knit together a package of trail segments that meet the eligibility requirements of the TIGER Discretionary Grant program.

In addition to the six counties and planning commissions (Schuylkill, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Bucks, Delaware and Camden), three state agencies (Pennsylvania DOT, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and New Jersey DOT), several municipal agencies (Lower Merion, Marcus Hook and Philadelphia’s Park and Recreation and Streets Departments) worked together on the original application. Stakeholders included Schuylkill River Heritage Area, Schuylkill River Development Corporation, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Bartram’s Garden, Delaware River City Corporation, and the Coopers Ferry Development Association. Nearly all of these trail segments have funding in place or have spent local or state dollars to conduct feasibility, planning and design.

Organizations and foundations supporting the project included the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the Schuylkill River Park Alliance, the Schuylkill Project, the Friends of Ivy Ridge Trail, the East Falls Development Corporation, the Manayunk Development Corporation, the Van Stone Foundation, the William Penn Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts. This proposed project is an example of a transportation project that is designed specifically to make the region a more livable community, while making the regional transportation system more accessible and safer for nonmotorized forms of transportation.

 

FUNDED PROJECT SEGMENT DESCRIPTIONS (PA)

photo of trail along river

Map of Philadelphia-area trail networks showing sections receiving
funding - Click map to enlarge

1. Schuylkill River Trail – Shawmont Avenue to Port Royal Avenue
• Project Length: 0.3 miles
• The project will connect the existing Fairmount Bikeway, that section of the Schuylkill River Trail which runs along the Manayunk Canal and presently terminates at Shawmont Avenue, with the final section of the Schuylkill River Trail in Philadelphia, located from Port Royal Avenue to the Montgomery County line. Upon completion, this trail segment will provide the following: A safe, off-road 12’ paved recreation path, approximately 0.3 miles (1518 feet) in length, following a PECO easement area behind Nixon Street.
• Existing Funding: The City of Philadelphia anticipates that funding for revising the existing design will be funded by grants from the PA DCNR (announcement in the Fall of 2009) and City of Philadelphia general funds.

2. Schuylkill River Trail – Walnut Street Gateway (ECG Connection)
• Project Length: 1,100 feet
• This project will provide enhancements to the Walnut Street Bridge over the Schuylkill River to calm vehicular traffic and make the bridge friendlier to pedestrians and bicyclists. This bridge provides one of the key access points (via a ramp) to the Schuylkill River Trail, and the project will improve this access. The work will consist of widening the sidewalks and adding some aesthetic improvements. Preliminary design is underway by Michael Baker Corporation, with management by the Schuylkill River Development Corporation.
• Existing Funding: The design has full funding from Federal (80%) and City (20%) funds. The construction has $1 million in Transportation Enhancement Funds out of the $3 million needed.

3. Schuylkill River Trail – CSX Pedestrian Bridge (ECG Connection)
• Project Length: 750 feet
• Located at the current southern terminus of the Schuylkill River Trail in Center City Philadelphia, this bridge will be constructed across a set of active CSX railroad tracks to provide access to the Schuylkill River Trail when the adjacent at-grade crossing is blocked by trains. The project has been mandated by a Federal Court Order. Design services are being provided by HNTB and managed by SRDC and the City of Philadelphia. The bridge will be a truncated arch Pratt Truss with ADA compatible ramps on each end.
• Existing Funding: The Design is fully funded from a Grant from the PEW Charitable Trusts and general funds from the City of Philadelphia. The construction budget currently has $1 million in Transportation Enhancement Funds out of the $5.4 million needed.

4. Schuylkill River Trail – Boardwalk Extension Locust Street to South Street (ECG Connection)
• Project Length: 2,000 feet
• This project will construct a boardwalk along the east bank of the Schuylkill River to link the current terminus of the Schuylkill River Trail at Locust Street to the new South Street Bridge. The boardwalk is a critical goal of Schuylkill River Development Corporation’s 2003 Tidal Schuylkill River Master Plan. URS Corp. is near the end of the Preliminary Engineering with management by SRDC. The current South Street Bridge construction project includes a ramp and a stairwell to the proposed boardwalk. The construction of the boardwalk could begin in mid-2010.
• Existing Funding: The design has Federal (80%) and City (20%) funding. The $10.6 million construction phase has received funds from Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) ($2.15 million), SAFETEA-LU ($1.344 million) and the City of Philadelphia ($250,000).

5. SRT & ECG – Bartram’s Garden Trail
• Project Length: 1.2 miles
• Bartram’s Garden is a National Historic Landmark and part of the National Recreational Trail system. Project will complete the first section of the Schuylkill River Trail on the west side of the Schuylkill, increasing access and linkages to East Coast Greenway and Cobbs Creek Bikeway. Section of trail to be completed is 1.2 miles between 51st Street and Lindbergh Boulevard.
• Existing Funding: The design has been funded by $180,000 raised to date from DRVPC, DCNR and CZM. $100,000 is pending. The Construction budget needs $2,112,000.

6. 58th Street Greenway
• Project Length: 1.5 miles
• Public streets and public rights-of-way will be modified to provide a buffered bikeway that will connect the Schuylkill River Trail and Bartram’s Garden to the Cobbs Creek Trail, thus providing a critical link in the East Coast Greenway and economic development opportunities for a neighborhood in Southwest Philadelphia that is woefully underserved by green space and trails.
• Existing Funding: The design has been fully funded by grants from the PA DCNR, DVRPC, and the William Penn Foundation ($150,000). Seed funding for construction is anticipated to be provided by an earmark request of $850,000 out of the total construction budget of $1,850,000.

7. Delaware Avenue Trail, Allegheny Avenue to Betsy Ross Bridge
• Project Length: 1.5 miles
• Study area for Allegheny Avenue includes the land from Richmond Street to the Delaware River; Study area for Delaware Avenue includes land between Allegheny Avenue and the Betsy Ross Bridge. The scope of the project includes data collection, traffic analysis, environmental site assessment, trail design analysis, streetscape improvement recommendations, permitting, and cost estimates.
• Existing Funding: The design has been fully funded by grants from the PA DCNR and from DVRPC ($300,000). The $6.5 million construction phase has received funds from SAFETEA-LU and a Federal earmark ($4 million).

 

FUNDED PROJECT SEGMENT DESCRIPTIONS (NJ)

8. Ben Franklin Bridge Access/Pearl Street – Camden, NJ
• Project Length: 0.51 miles, connecting approximately 10 miles of trails and bikeways
• This project will construct on-street bike lanes and a sidewalk pedestrian trail from the terminus of the Ben Franklin Bridge Walkway to Camden County’s Wiggins Park Promenade along the Camden Waterfront. It lies adjacent to Rutgers University and Campbell’s Field.
• Existing Funding: The design has been fully funded by Camden County funds.

9. Martin Luther King Boulevard – Camden, NJ
• Project Length: 0.76 miles, connecting approximately 10 miles of trails and bikeways
• This project will provide significant sidewalk and streetscape improvements and bicycle lanes along the major arterial road of downtown Camden. It would connect the Camden Waterfront and downtown Camden to the $90 million Campbell’s Soup world headquarters redevelopment project to the $220 million Cooper University Hospital expansion.
• Existing Funding: The project was designed by the City of Camden using DVRPC grant funding and is currently being redesigned and implemented in coordination with Camden County, Cooper University Hospital and NJDOT.

10. Pine Street Corridor– Camden, NJ
• Project Total Length: 0.74 miles, connecting approximately 10 miles of trails and bikeways
• This project will build off-road bicycle and pedestrian trails to connect the Camden Waterfront and the current $90 million Campbell’s Soup corporate campus improvements with New Camden Park and Farnham Park, which are both along the Cooper River.
• Existing Funding: The design has been fully funded by Camden County funds.

 

For more information:

Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, 1500 Walnut Street, Suite 1107, Philadelphia PA, 19102 ∙
p: (215) BICYCLE ∙ f: (215) 220-3004 ∙ www.bicyclecoalition.org

 

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