Sound the horns, the Circuit Trails network is growing! The network’s eventual total has increased from 750 to more than 800 miles due to the addition of newly planned segments, including the Cross County trail in Camden. The Circuit Trails network, which crosses nine counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey (click here for map), now consists of 325.1 completed miles, 80.1 miles in progress, 119.2 miles in the pipeline (trails that are moving forward in the near future) and 286.6 miles planned. During 2017, the Circuit added 5.4 miles of new trails to the network: 4.2 in PA and 2.2 in NJ.
This progress (and trails coming next year) was made possible due to several funding sources that totaled nearly $10 million (get ready for some serious acronyms): CZM, DCNR, RTF, NJDOT Local Aid, NJ TAP, TCDI, Burlington County, PA Act 89, MTF CFA, and Sly Fox Brewery (who knew?!). Additionally, New Jersey trails were allotted $1 million from the Congestion Mitigation Air Quality program in the FY2018 NJ TIP that was adopted October 26, 2017. Those funds are available for Circuit trails to apply for construction funding. Although the $1 million is less than what Circuit members recommended, it is a step forward.
Scroll down for our highlighted trail segments and other notable details.
While appearing as a mere 0.5 mile segment, the Cooper’s Poynt Trail segment (pictured above) that opened in June has already had a major impact on the City of Camden. This marked an ongoing step in converting the site from a waterfront prison to an inclusively designed community amenity.
Across the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, the opening of Bartram’s Mile (images above and below) was another notable highlight of the 2017 advocacy efforts undertaken by the Circuit Coalition and signals the determination of the City of Philadelphia and Bartram’s Garden to complete the Schuylkill River Trail, a critical trunk trail of the Circuit. This segment will not only become part of a vital transportation link between low-income communities in West and Southwest Philadelphia and the economic prospects that Center City offers, but has also created a scenic and safe connection between Bartram Village Apartments and the Schuylkill River waterfront. Previously, the apartment complex and the surrounding community had been cut off from the river and from the 45 acres of public gardens and recreational opportunities at Bartram’s Garden by a rarely-used freight rail line. The access that this 0.65-mile segment created was celebrated by community members, public officials, funders and trail advocates alike at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in May.
Tacony Creek – Roosevelt Boulevard Connector:
This one was the tiniest of all of our new segments, but will have no less of an impact on its community than the previous two we highlighted. This under-construction segment will not only connect two parts of the Tacony Creek Trail for the first time, but will also provide for a safe and pleasant biking and walking connection between two communities that have been separated for generations by the most dangerous highway in Pennsylvania. When this segment opens in 2018, it will be a major win not just for The Circuit, but for the City’s Vision Zero campaign.
New Trail Segments Rundown:
This year also saw the creation of the 500 Miles by 2025 Circuit Resolution Campaign. This endeavor seeks to gain a groundswell of municipal and county support for constructing 500 miles of the Circuit by 2025, which will get the region on schedule to complete 750 miles by 2040 as called for in the Long Range Plan of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. The effort began early in the year with the goal of securing 100 resolutions. To date, 67 resolutions have been signed in the region: Camden, Bucks, Montgomery and Chester Counties, as well as 40 municipalities in Pennsylvania and 23 in New Jersey. Check out the maps below to see our progress from June to December. Municipalities that have signed the resolution are in blue, and those that are in progress are yellow. We highlight counties as they sign as well. Click here to view the interactive real-time map. If your town hasn’t signed and you’d like to help us, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On April 8, the Circuit Trails Coalition celebrated Opening Day for Trails by mounting a Guinness World Record attempt at Penn Treaty Park for the
longest fist-bump chain. That event kicked-off a Circuit Trails Challenge which saw more than 150 trail users meeting personal or team challenges by racking up 500 miles each on the Circuit. By September, participants had amassed more than 81,000 miles of trails traveled. Additionally, the Circuit garnered over 270 million impressions from a paid advertising campaign, which included a media partnership with 6ABC, and consisted of TV spots, video ads on transit, bus wraps, and beyond.