Each year, the Friends of Haverford Trails host the Philadelphia Western Suburbs Trail Summit. This year marks their 11th annual trails summit held since 2013 and returned to in-person at the Community Recreation and Environmental Center in Haverford, PA. The purpose of the summit is to highlight and discuss local trails, promote cycling and walking initiatives being undertaken and to inspire similar initiatives throughout the county. With on-going support from Delaware County over the years and the formation of the Delaware County Trails Alliance in 2021, the summit transformed its focus from local initiatives in Haverford Township to all of Delaware County, Lower Merion Township in Montgomery County and the western portion of Philadelphia.

If you missed the event and are interested in catching up on the latest trail developments in these locations, we’ve got you covered. The full agenda can be accessed here, and we’ve highlighted a few topics with a bit of context below. The full event was recorded and can be viewed here.

Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia – “Circuit Trails” Regional Mileage Update,
What’s Ahead in 2023, and A Year of Advocacy and Events Lead by Bike Delaware County

Patrick Monahan, Regional Organizer, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
James Bergman and Eric Hartman, Co-chairs, Bike Delaware County

  • Kicking off the summit, the Bicycle Coalition presented on the latest Circuit Trails news including the current milage by trail status, the latest trails in Southeastern Pennsylvania, trails that are coming soon and planned events this spring to celebrate the Circuit. There are many ways to get involved with the Circuit. Be active by becoming a Circuit Citizen or reach out to the Bicycle Coalition’s Regional Organizer at patrick@bicyclecoalition.org to learn more about joining your county’s action team.
  • Co-chairs of Bike Delaware County, Eric and James presented on the many ride events they brought to Delaware County, including efforts that aim to improve accessibility and safety for cyclists and pedestrians to local county projects. The Action Team’s Edges of Possibility ride series will return this spring and will highlight Leiper-Smedley and Chester Creek Trails. On the advocacy side of things, Bike Delco shared the latest on PennDOT’s Haverford Road Corridor Improvement Plan and identifying Inclusive Bike and Pedestrian Safety Connections to Don Guanella Park in Delaware County. Interested in joining the movement in Delaware County? Reach out to James and Eric to join the Action Team!

Delaware County – Grants, Delco’s Forthcoming “Flagship” Park, Project Updates

Elaine Paul Schaefer, Vice Chair, Delaware County Council
Gina Burritt, Director, Delaware County Planning Department
Steven Beckley, Open Space and Trails Manager, Delaware County Planning Department

  • Highlights from the County include: The Economic Impact of Protected Open Space in Delaware County report made available in April 2022; The Delco Green Ways Grant Program; Delco’s New Parks Master Plan; Current County trail projects including the Chester Creek Trail, Darby Creek Trail, Media-Smedley Connector Trail and the East Coast Greenway.
  • The County shared an important development for the Route 291 Road Diet which has been identified as the Circuit Trails priority project in Delaware County. Last year, the County was awarded $150,000 through a TCDI grant to conduct a safety study along the route in the City of Chester, Eddystone Borough and Ridley Township. The Route 291 Road Diet not only involves the Circuit but also the East Coast Greenway and the September 11th National Memorial Trail. A win regarding the segment highlighted in red below involves PennDOT working with local stakeholders to include an 8-foot width for the trail that will align with the existing segments on either end of what is shown on the map below. This will greatly accelerate the development of completing this gap while providing safe and accessible connections from Philadelphia to the Delaware state-line.

Upper Darby Township – Trail Construction and Planning Update

Stephen Lockard, Friends of Upper Darby Trails
Richard Kerr, Co-chair, Friends of Haverford Trails

  • The Darby Creek Trail has made major strides as Upper Darby, Haverford and Lansdowne continue to work together on trail segments within their area of focus. Updates include development along the Gillespie Park Trail segment of the Upper Darby Trail including a recently awarded $100,000 for stream bank restoration and tree planting thanks to DCNR’s TreeVitalize grant program.
  • Additionally, the Newtown Square Branch Trail is extending its existing Pennsy Trail segment toward Upper Darby. Upper Darby Township has selected a consultant team last year and are in the process of preforming a comprehensive study of parks, open space, trails, sidewalks, bicycling facilities and links to transit. Completion for the study is expected toward the end of 2023.

Lansdowne Borough – Repurposing a Road Lane to a Trail, the Bike Loop & More

Benjamin Hover, President, Lansdowne Borough Council

  • In September of 2022, Bike Delaware County joined Lansdowne Borough to celebrate the opening of their bike lanes with a ribbon cutting and guided tours to explore the exciting new connections through the borough. Lansdowne is moving full steam ahead with a road diet that will include biking and pedestrian improvements to Plumstead Ave this year. See the map below for reference.

Questions about the content that was covered at the Philadelphia Western Suburbs Trail Summit? Contact Friends of Haverford Trails at trails@haverfordciviccouncil.org for more info.

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