At long last, the project to rehabilitate the path along MLK Drive has begun! This Philadelphia Parks and Recreation (PPR) $1.4 million project began in January 2021 and should be completed by this spring.
During that time, the trail is closed, but the roadway is open to for biking and walking.
Announced recently by PPR, the 50 year old trail is being completely overhauled, widened and being made more accessible. Improvements include:
- New signage and on-trail pavement markings.
- Improved crosswalks and ADA accessible ramps.
- Clearing of dead and damaged trees.
- Modern drainage systems.
- Increased trail width (from 8-10′ wide to 10-12′) which will allow for safer usage and passage.
- Trail design that will avoid conflict with existing tree roots, minimizing and/or eliminating future tree root damage to the trail and providing a safe, smooth surface.
- Clearer paths due to the removal of dead and damaged trees which will help make the trail and surrounding park safer.
- Ramps for bicyclists at the gates at Sweetbriar and East Falls will be widened from 3 fee to ten feet.
The rehab project is funded by the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s Regional Trails Fund, and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. Gessler Construction is the project contractor and NV5 is the project design engineer.
The Bicycle Coalition has a long history of advocating for the repair of this path, which is part of the Circuit Trails, dating back to 2008 when we asked Mayor Nutter to make a priority. Over the years, we raised it with agency officials at every opportunity. Back in 2019, we asked Representative Donna Bullock to support the City’s application for state grant funding, which she committed to doing.