Just as the Fourth of July weekend was about to start, residents of the Delaware Valley had another reason to celebrate.
On July 2 the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) announced it had voted unanimously to support the dedication of federal and private dollars toward 11 Circuit trail segments in Pennsylvania with $5 million allocated for design and construction. PEC is deeply involved in two of these trails and has participated in the planning or advancement of several others.
The Bridge Street gap on the D&L Canal Trail in Morrisville will receive funding to begin the process of designing two matching ramps and an at-grade crossing to safely transport users from one side of the divided trail to the other. In 2014 PEC worked with local and regional stakeholders to find the best option for unblocking this obstruction including the Morrisville Environmental Advisory Council.
On Spring Garden Street, PEC has been working for more than three years to bridge the connection between the Schuylkill River Trail and the future Delaware River Trail. This funding will provide resources for preliminary design of the Spring Garden Street Greenway. PEC also made major headway over the last year at getting the greenway back into the spotlight as a necessary piece of a safe alternative transportation and recreation network.
This type of funding mechanism has long been sought after for trail development. The Circuit is a network of regional trails and is officially adopted in the DCVPC Connections 2040 plan which lays out priorities for transportation funding of all modes in the greater Philadelphia region. PEC, along with a multitude of partners, worked hard to build the relationships that brought this funding to fruition. Along with funding from the William Penn Foundation these two sources will literally pave the way for 11 new segments of trail in the Philadelphia region.
Additionally, PEC and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia collaborated on a region-wide survey to better understand awareness of regional trails on the general public. The results were not surprising to regular trail users but were reassuring to see scientifically proven, as 85 percent support building more trails in their counties while 70 percent were in favor of spending $2 per person in public dollars annually to pay for new miles of trails. Sixty percent of respondents said they would like to have access to a trail, or more trails within 10 minutes of their homes. Of respondents under the age of 45, that level of support rose to 72 percent.