The Philadelphia City Planning Commission held its final public meeting about the Wissahickon Gateway Project on Wednesday May 23. The project seeks to address many issues simultaneously: improved transit service via a considerably expanded Wissahickon Transportation Center (WTC), closing one of the most significant gaps in the Schuylkill River Trail and The Circuit Trails, improving pedestrian connectivity between WTC and the Wissahickon regional rail station, easing congestion via targeted road improvements, building a new gateway to Wissahickon Valley Park, and adding new retail, office and housing opportunities to the waterfront site.
Announced on one of the presentation boards at last night’s meeting was that SEPTA had recently acquired the land it needed to start moving the expansion of the WTC forward. This acquisition also partially unlocks the right of way needed for the SRT expansion.
The new trail segment (green line in map below) will connect the completed Pencoyd Bridge (far left) with the Kelly Drive Sidepath (far right), thus providing a safe opportunity to bypass the on-road segment of Main Street where cyclists currently must navigate a high-volume roadway, narrow sidewalks, buses, and bus riders.
The City and SEPTA also intends to add a wide sidepath on Ridge Avenue in front of the WTC to provide a safer on-road bicycle-walking route between Kelley Drive and the Pencoyd Bridge.
When complete, the new trail segment will provide dramatically improved connectivity not just to Philadelphia cyclists, but to those from our region, and well beyond. When this and other gaps are closed, the completed Schuylkill River Trail will consist of one unified trail from Pottsville in Schuylkill County all the way to the East Coast Greenway near the Philadelphia International Airport, a span of approximately 100 miles.
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