Last week, on May 13th, the Circuit Trails Coalition gathered virtually for the Circuit Trails Semi-Annual Meeting to discuss trail updates, strategic goals, campaigns and case studies with 70 members who are working to move the Circuit forward.
So far this year, 1.9 new miles of trail have been completed, ranging from a 1/4 of a mile to a little over 8/10 of a mile. This includes four projects and brings total constructed miles in the DVRPC service area to 355 miles. The four recently constructed projects are:
- Tacony-Tookany-Frankford Trail – Adams Avenue Connector – 0.24 miles
- Liberty Bell Trail – Stony Creek Park to Andale Section – 0.28 miles
- Cross County Trail – Near St. George’s Road to Dryden – 0.53 miles
- Pennypack Trail – Byberry Road to County Line Road – 0.83 miles
An additional 10.7 miles are expected to be completed by the end of 2021. Below are the trail segments that are scheduled to be completed as early as this Spring into late December.
In New Jersey (4.57 miles):
- Rancocas Creek Greenway – Amico Island to Pennington Park – Expected December 2021
- Arney’s Mount Trail – Phase I – Expected in December 2021
- Delaware River Heritage Trail – RiverLine Crossing – Expected June 2021
- Delaware River Heritage Trail – Cramer Hill Waterfront Park – Expected Fall 2021
In Pennsylvania (6.1 miles):
- Schuylkill River Trail – Whittaker (formerly Monocacy) Bridge – Expected in August 2021
- East Coast Greenway – PA-DE Border Bike Lanes – Expected in August 2021
- Newtown Rail Trail – County Line Rd to Bristol Rd – Expected in July 2021
- Scudder Falls Bridge Side Path – Expected in August 2021
- Cross County Trail – PA 309 Overpass to Life Time/Trumark Entrance – Expected Spring 2021
- Delaware River Trail – Christian St to Spring Garden Street – Expected Fall 2021
Following the discussion of new trails and trails coming soon was an overview of a science-based campaign called Protect the View by the Appalachian Mountain Club.
The in-depth research produced 10 views from 6 Circuit Trails that are vulnerable to development pressure. Protect the View visually showcases and highlights the many benefits these scenic trail views have to offer. The campaign catalyzes communication about the importance of open space funding and the need to preserve the scenic value of these places.
To truly appreciate the depth of their research, you’ll have to take a look for yourself with use of their interactive maps to explore the threatened trail views throughout the region.
Trails in the Focus Area include the following:
- Big Woods Trail
- Chester Valley Trail
- D&L Trail
- East Branch Perkiomen Trail
- Kinkora Trail
- Schuylkill River Trail
In addition to exploring the overview map above, you can learn more by selecting one of the ten trails to see a close-up map of the trail, trail statistics providing total parcels in the focus area that are protected and unprotected, what views we may lose and how you can help preserve and support open space programs to permanently protect these places in our region.
Preservation is a crucial component to protecting the Circuit, as is better understanding our trail users’ needs and interests and the communities that live near the trails. The Circuit Trails Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Task Force released their final report that was made possible by the William Penn Foundation. The Task Force focused their research on Circuit Trails that run through neighborhoods that have been historically disinvested in throughout the region, including Camden, Cobbs Creek, Norristown and Trenton. The purpose of this study was to engage with residents who live in these neighborhoods by hosting community stakeholder meetings, creating a trail and community survey and hosting focus groups to better understand how they use the trails and where they’d like to see the network of trails grow in their community.
Wrapping up the semi-annual meeting were case studies on trails with strong community connections in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Maitreyi Roy, the Executive Director of Bartram’s Gardenm presented on the role they play and how they support those who visit this open space, conceptual renderings of future trails and efforts to restore and preserve the Schuylkill River. In New Jersey, Shereyl Snider with the East Trenton Collaborative presented on the D&R Trails in Trenton and where the trail strives along with suggested improvements to allow the trails to become an inviting space for all.
The Circuit Trails Coalition continues to do great work with great support from trail users like you. As we move forward this year be sure to keep an eye out for new trail updates and campaigns to move The Circuit forward.