We are pretty excited about the opening of Bartram’s Mile North & South this coming Saturday (4/22 at 11am). Not just because the Bicycle Coalition is hosting rides and activities after the ribbon cutting with support from Bartram’s Garden and the Knight Foundation. Also because we have been working alongside among many organizations dedicated to helping realize the 2003 vision of a Tidal Schuylkill River Trail –completing the Schuylkill River Trail from the Art Museum to the mouth of the Delaware River.
In 2008, BCGP teamed up with multiple partners, (including Bartram’s Garden, Manayunk Development Corporation, Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Schuylkill River Park Alliance) to run a campaign called Complete the Schuylkill River Trail. We identified 9 segments that needed to be completed in order to make a seamless connection from Montgomery County to Cobb’s Creek. This campaign led to the City of Philadelphia winning a $23Million TIGER award in 2010 to build six of nine segments (SRT in Shawmont, Walnut Street Greenway, the Boardwalk, the Connector Bridge, the trail at Bartram’s Garden & the 58th Street Greenway.)
Bartram’s Mile was one of the segments originally identified in the campaign that was not funded by the TIGER award. In an effort to generate excitement about the potential for closing the remaining gaps post-TIGER, BCGP and its partners led several walks in 2010 from Bartram’s Garden to the Trolley Works next to the not-yet-built Gray’s Ferry Crescent.
In 2012, the City opened the Gray’s Ferry Crescent, just north of the swing bridge in South Philadelphia. The City of Philadelphia led the effort to stitch together funding to rebuild the Gray’s Ferry Connector (also known as the Swing Bridge), which won another TIGER grant in 2015 and should go under construction later this year. PennPraxis was hired the City to lead the development of a plan for Bartram’s Mile North and South (on the other side of Bartram’s Garden on the bank by 56th Street.) These two sections will formally open on Saturday.
All of these sections are now part of the Circuit Trails and are crucial links to making a seamless connection between Southwest Philadelphia and Center City. Later this year, the SRT will extend from the Boardwalk down to Christian Street. Once the swing bridge opens in 2018 or 2019, the next crucial gap in the SRT be will the Christian to Crescent Connector.