After 18 years of advocacy, planning, and construction, the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission officially opened the Scudder Falls Shared Use Path. The path is about 3/4 mile in length was a major part of the I-295 Scudder Falls Bridge project. It is the first interstate highway bridge project in the region built specifically to include a bicycle and pedestrian path.
The path has sweeping views upriver of the Washington Crossing Bridge and the Sourland Mountains. It is the only crossing on the Delaware River between the Ben Franklin Bridge and the Dingmans Ferry Bridge that bicyclists can legally ride across.
The bridge ramps provide a direct trail to trail connection between the 165-mile D&L Trail and the 69-mile D&R Canal Path. The crossing also increases trails to transit options on both sides of the river. SEPTA’s West Trenton Line stops at Yardley Station two miles south of the bridge and NJ TRANSIT Route 608 bus to the Trenton Train Station stops just off the D&R Towpath on Upper Ferry Rd. The Commission has built a new trailhead on the PA side with indoor restrooms, water fountains and a newly renovated Park and Ride Lot across from the I-295 off-ramps, which means that the lot will fill up quickly on warm-weather weekends.
The Bicycle Coalition initiated and lead the effort to get the pathway built. The history of our effort is captured in these posts from our legacy blog.
Back in 2003, John Madera who was the DVRPC Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner at that time alerted us about an upcoming project to reconstruct the bridge and suggested that we push for the inclusion of a path to connect the D&L and D&R Canal Towpaths.
To their credit, the Toll Bridge Commission conducted a robust public involvement process with a project website and many public meetings. After input from many bicycle and trail advocates, they agreed to study the feasibility of including a pathway to address concerns such as the added cost of the path.
Between 2004 and 2010 we obtained resolutions from Lower Makefield and Ewing Townships. Attended a Commissioners meeting in Lambertville and put out a petition with 1500 signatures.
Numerous organizations joined our campaign including Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Trenton Cycling Revolution, NJ Bike and Walk Coalition, the East Coast Greenway Alliance and others. Many of these groups continue to collaborate today as part of the Circuit Trails Coalition.
Finally, in 2010 the commissioners incorporated the bike/ped path into the $570 million dollar project. But it wasn’t quite over. Public Review of the Environmental Impact Statement prompted a populist backlash from people who opposed tolling to pay for the bridge.
Our members and aligned organizations came together one more time to preserve the path in the plan. During public testimony at the final 2011 meeting at the Sheraton in Langhorne. supporter after supporter asked for inclusion of the path, even some of the toll opponents of the project stated their support for a path.
So let’s celebrate this critical addition to the Circuit Trails Network and our goal to achieve 500 miles of Circuit Trails by 2025. Thanks to the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission as well as their partners PENNDOT, NJDOT, PA DCNR and NJ DEP for making the path a reality. And most importantly know that your support for the Bicycle Coalition will help the region complete the 800-mile Circuit Trails Network.
The campaign for the Scudder Falls Shared-Use Path is proof that our success is still driven by the support and actions of our members. Sign up or Renew Today.