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The Schuylkill River Trail in Philadelphia

The Schuylkill River Trail in Philadelphia

More and more people are using the Schuylkill River Trail each day, but with that increase in users, some have also reported being harassed while running or bicycling on the trail. Last month, Green Philly Blog reported people being harassed on the trail and started a citywide conversation in the media. Police said they’d increase their presence along the Schuylkill Banks. Now, a month later, a new Green Philly Blog post is citing more incidents:

A little over a month later, Run215 founder Jon Lyons has been receiving an increase of personal Facebook messages about incidents reoccurring lately. In addition to hearing these stories, there are other problems that have been ignored after the chatter calmed down online. He also noticed the same street light has been out on the trail for the past month, which is one easy fix for the city.

Lyons expressed additional frustration after reaching out to Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s office. After scheduling a meeting and a few reschedules, they later cancelled the meeting because the “situation was being handled”.

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia spoke with Zoe Axelrod, design assistant and outreach coordinator of the Schuylkill River Development Corporation, who noted that police presence as increased, but when that fails, it’s important trail users contact police—not just put out updates on Facebook.

“We’re glad that people are speaking out about incidents on the trail and are encouraging others to contact City Council. However, as we’ve said before, these incidents must be reported to the police as they are happening,” Alexrod said. “Reporting them on Facebook after the fact, while raising awareness, won’t stop these events from happening.”

The SRDC is working on installing more mile-markers along the trail to make it easier for trail users to report the location of an incident, she added.

As the Bicycle Coalition noted after the initial reports, the best thing you can do if you’re harassed on the trail is to call 911—immediately. Also, check out the SRDC’s “How to Report Incidents on the Schuylkill Banks” page.

Randy LoBasso

Author

Randy LoBasso is the policy director at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

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