In a wide-ranging interview with PlanPhilly, acting-PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards highlighted the Circuit trails as some of the projects that can be better utilized with funds accrued from 2013’s passage of Act 89 in the Capital.
“Act 89 will give us some flexibility to do some new things that we haven’t been able to do in the past,” she told reporters Jon Geeting and Jim Saksa. “And getting back to you original question about Southeastern Pennsylvania, we are going to make sure that the Act 89 projects that have started will continue.”
Act 89 was the much-debated transportation funding bill the Pennsylvania legislature fought over two years ago. The Act opened up some much-needed revenue and options for counties to open up new revenue streams to fund transportation projects.
And one important project going on in Southeast Pennsylvania is the continued construction of the Circuit—750 miles of trails around the nine-county southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey region. So far, with the help of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and others, more than 300 miles of The Circuit have been built. And new construction on the Manayunk Bridge, which will create a trail connecting Manayunk to Montgomery County, recently began.
In her comments on specific projects using Act 89 funds, Richards mentioned the Navy Yard, the Vine Street overpasses, the Delaware River waterfront and the Circuit.
“We will definitely be looking at the Navy Yard access and moving that forward, the Vine Street Expressway bridges and the parks that are associated with that construction, and the Circuit, which is the trail system with over 700 miles in the region but we know that a lot of those pieces still need to be connected,” she continued. “We will be looking at all that and, as you mentioned, the waterfront access to I-95.”
The Better Mobility Working Group has made the continued construction of The Circuit a priority for Philadelphia’s next mayor in the Better Mobility 2015 platform. Projects like the Schuylkill River Boardwalk have proven a major factor for both new mobility and increased tourism of the Philly region—and even led to Philly’s inclusion as #3 on the New York Times’ list of 52 places to visit in 2015.
Check out the Better Mobility platform and don’t forget to RSVP to the Better Mobility Working Group’s mayoral forum on March 19.