Friday, October 19, 2012

Concept for Closing Most Critical Gap in Schuylkill River Trail to Be Unveiled Nov 1

A version of this was originally posted on Crossing Paths, the official blog of The Circuit. Subscribe to the blog to stay current on all regional trail information, events, and openings.

Current conditions at the Wissahickon Gateway
Philadelphia's Dept. of Parks and Rec is finally ready to unveil how it plans to close the most critical gap in the Schuylkill River Trail: the Wissahickon Gateway, aka the segment between the end of Kelly Drive and Main Street Manayunk.

They will unveil their current plan at a 6:00 pm public meeting on Tuesday, November 1st at the Gustine Rec Center.

The above represents one trail option under 
consideration by Phila Parks & Recreation.

For several years in the 2000s, the Schuylkill Project led the effort to close this gap and prepared a Wissahickon Gateway plan with possible alignments. When the Schuylkill Project joined the Complete the Schuylkill River Trail campaign in early 2009, the gap's profile rose and it was highlighted as the most critical gap in the SRT,  hindering greater usage of the trail past East Falls. This gap is particularly tricky because of the need to cross the Wissahickon Creek and weave through multiple properties that are in between the creek on one end and the Penncoyd Bridge on the other.

The new attention coincided with the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation (PPR)'s decision in 2009 to apply for a DCNR planning grant to conduct a preliminary engineering study, which it received in late 2009. In 2010, PPR hired Baker and Associates to conduct the study and they focused on two alignments; one along the riverfront and one along the Ridge Ave/Main St sidewalk.

The study was kicked of in early 2011. After eighteen months of study and negotiations with the Philadelphia Canoe Club, SEPTA, PECO and the Steinberg family who owns the former MAB paint store, restaurant depot and Mr. Storage, PPR is ready to share with the public their concept of how to align a new bridge and trail and close the gap.