The following is the featured story on the Recovery.gov homepage–
Pennsylvania and New Jersey are collaborating to develop extensive bicycle and pedestrian networks primarily in and around the Philadelphia and Camden areas. The joint project, known as Generating Recovery by Enhancing Active Transportation in Pennsylvania & New Jersey (GREAT/PA-NJ), is partly funded by a $23 million Department of Transportation Recovery Act grant.
Artist’s rendering of planned new boardwalk section of Schuylkill River Trail in Philadelphia.
The project involves completing final segments of the incomplete Schuylkill River Trail (SRT), which begins northwest of Philadelphia and winds down through the city to the banks of the Delaware River. The project will also connect the SRT to other bike paths and trails in the area, such as Cobbs Creek Trail just south of Philadelphia. All these trails and paths will ultimately be linked to trails and paths being developed in Camden on the other side of the Delaware River.
The result? Approximately 130-miles of interconnected biking and walking trails for the approximately six million people in the eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey region.
According to project officials, GREAT/PA-NJ will benefit “many neighborhoods that currently do not enjoy any access to a riverfront greenway. These benefits include connecting residential neighborhoods to commercial corridors, residents to transit nodes and parks and open spaces, and the Philadelphia metro region’s suburbs to its urban core.”
The Recovery grant is covering the costs of constructing ten segments to connect the trails involved. For instance, the Schuylkill River Trail has been built piecemeal over the last two decades; the grant allows for most of the final segments to be built, bringing the trail nearer to completion. The grant is also paying to connect two similar trails in Camden in addition to linking the Camden trails to the Schuylkill River Trail.
Some of the Recovery-funded segments are:
- The extension of the Fairmount Bikeway portion of the Schuylkill River Trail from Shawmont Avenue in Philadelphia to Port Royal Avenue – about a third of a mile – where the Schuylkill River Trail picks up again and leads out of town.
- The link from the SRT to Bartram’s Garden, a National Historic Landmark about 1.2 miles south of Philadelphia, which then also allows access to Cobbs Creek Trail.
- The addition of about a half-mile of pedestrian walkway and on-street bike lanes from the Ben Franklin Bridge Walkway on the Delaware River to the Wiggins Park Promenade, a pedestrian walkway along the Camden Waterfront.
The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant from the Department of Transportation covers about 60 percent of the total $38.3 million project. Money from other federal sources in addition to state funds and contributions from the William Penn and Pew foundations will cover the remaining amount.
Work is being done is in various stages – some segments are already completed, others under construction, and some still in planning/review stages. Officials expect all work to be completed by late 2011 or early 2012.