The morning ribbon cutting, featuring Congressman Robert E. Andrews, Camden County Freeholders Ian Leonard and Carmen Rodriguez and Camden City Mayor Dana Redd, will signal the start of a long-awaited complete streets' overhaul project funded by a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary grant. This project will greatly improve pedestrian and bicycle access in the City.
The 350 Sojourn bicyclists will be on hand to support this TIGER project, a crucial component in an active regional transportation network with Camden City serving as the gateway between Philadelphia and the South Jersey suburbs.
In February, Camden County was awarded $5.8 million of stimulus funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s TIGER Grant funding program. This grant funding was awarded to improve three important corridors of Camden – Martin Luther King Boulevard, Pearl Street and Pine Street (see the map below).
As part of multi-state TIGER application with the City of Philadelphia, this project is one of the first steps towards developing the Camden GreenWay – Camden's component of an active transportation network stretching over 128-miles of bicycle and walking trails throughout Camden City, Camden County, Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. The Camden Greenway will connect local residents and visitors to such popular biking/walking trails as the Cooper River Park Trail, Schuylkill River Trail, and the East Coast Greenway.
“We are very excited that Rails-to-Trails has brought its sojourn and bike riders to our City,” said Anthony Perno, President & CEO of Cooper’s Ferry Development Association. “We are also very excited Camden was awarded federal funds to develop our own bike and pedestrian trail network. This TIGER-funded project will enhance walking and bicycling opportunities in Camden, while improving and beautifying the streets, leveraging essential economic development along these important corridors.”
Work is already underway in receiving authorization for the construction of the TIGER grant projects. However, this event on the 18th will serve as the “official start” of the long-awaited improvement project, with construction on the trail ways planned to commence next summer.
The Greenway Sojourn serves as the perfect platform to help celebrate the kick-off of the TIGER-funded Camden Greenway project. The seven-day, loop-ride features seven different Pennsylvania and New Jersey rail-trails, including the Delaware Canal Towpath, Delaware and Raritan Canal Towpath, Ironton Rail-Trail, Lehigh Canal Towpath, Lehigh Gorge State Park Trail, Perkiomen Trail and Schuylkill River Trail.
So much more than a popular and wildly anticipated recreational ride, the Greenway Sojourn has a long history showcasing trail-building and improvement projects along its route. Sojourn riders—ranging in age from 4 to 90, and hailing from 30 different states—are ardent and loyal trail enthusiasts who often play a part in highlighting the economic, health and quality-of-life benefits trail systems bring to a community.
Additionally, the Sojourn helps educate and enrich the next generation of trail users. This year, the Sojourn successfully secured sponsorship for 24 students from the LEAP Charter School in Camden and Faison School in Pittsburgh to participate in the Sojourn ride.
The 2010 Greenway Sojourn is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), Fetzer Vineyards: The Earth-Friendly Winery, Fuji Bikes, Cooper’s Ferry Development Association and Pocono Whitewater.
Learn more about the 2010 Sojourn and RTC’s trail-building work at http://www.railstotrails.org/sojourn2010
Click on map to enlarge.