This blog was written by John Boyle, research director at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and first appeared on the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia’s blog on June 30, 2020. The blog has been slightly edited to make note of projects that have been completed since its initial publication.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, trail development has continued throughout the region. It’s actually turning out to be the busiest construction season in years. Expect a lot of (socially-distanced) ribbon cuttings between this summer and the fall of 2021.
Photo courtesy of Schuylkill Banks
Schuylkill Crossing at Grays Ferry – This completion of this project has been delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Before the stay-at-home orders commenced, the mechanism to allow the bridge to swing open was delivered to the project site and is now ready for installation. The erection of the new truss structure could happen this year or may be forced to wait till next spring.
The Delaware River Waterfront Trail – The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation began construction on an exciting segment of the Delaware River Trail–nearly two miles of upgraded bicycle and pedestrian facilities on the east side of Delaware Avenue from Washington Avenue north to Spring Garden Street. There will be a detour for the northbound bike lane. This project should be completed in the fall of 2021.
Schuylkill River Trail Parkerford to the Route 422 Bridge. The project has a notice to proceed day on July 6th. Construction activities should begin shortly thereafter.
Chester and Montgomery County:
Schuylkill River Trail Route 29 Bridge – PENNDOT is replacing the sidewalk on the bridge between Mont Clare and Phoenixville with a barrier protected side path. Construction began in the fall and it is expected to be completed within the next few months.
Bucks and Mercer County:
Scudder Falls Bridge Path – The I-295 Bridge between PA and NJ is getting a bicycle and pedestrian path. The path and the approach from the D&L Trail will be completed this summer but the ramp to the D&R Towpath in NJ won’t be completed until late summer 2021.
Photo courtesy of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail
The Lawrence Hopewell Trail Bridge over Stony Brook in Rosedale Park eliminates a dangerous on road section of the trail alignment and it opened last week! Mercer County Parks is also paving some sections of the trails in Rosedale Park that have eroded.
Upper Bucks Rail Trail – Construction is about 75% complete, work has not yet begun on a segment of a wetlands area in Springfield Township. The trail is due to be opened in the fall if the final segment can be constructed. When completed it will connect the Saucon Valley Rail Trail in the Lehigh Valley.
Photo courtesy of Burlington County
Delaware River Heritage Trail – This trail is 95% complete. Unfortunately, NJ TRANSIT is in a dispute with Burlington County over the access permit for the trail at the grade crossing for the RiverLINE light rail (NJ TRANSIT is only offering a temporary access permit). The trail might open as two separate trails until the grade crossing issue is resolved.
Montgomery and Bucks County
Pennypack Trail – Newtown Rail Trail – Montgomery County has begun work the Byberry Rd crossing. Bucks County has just approved the contractor to start construction later this summer. Montgomery County is preparing bid documents and construction could begin in late summer or early fall.
Chester Valley Trail Extension – This is the connection between the Schuylkill River Trail in Norristown and the Chester Valley Trail in King of Prussia. Construction will begin in earnest this summer. Right now the County is in the mobilization phase and arranging for the necessary utility work (e.g., PECO). The project is expected to be completed sometime in 2022.
Please note: As the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve in our region and beyond, we recommend and highly encourage that you continue to take precautions to keep yourself and others safe on the trails by doing the following:
• Review and follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) most current public health and safety guidance here: https://bit.ly/cTcdcRe
• Refer to the guidance provided by your county, city and town governments for more specific information about your community's directives.
• Remember to practice social distancing on the trails and come prepared with a cloth face covering.
• Before you go, confirm the status of trail facilities as some may be limited, including closed bathrooms, depots and visitor centers, and limited or no staff. You can find trail manager contact information through individual trail records at TrailLink.com to check before you head out.