Published on June 17 2013

On June 17th, 2013, we achieved a key milestone in implementing the Master Plan for the Central Delaware and transforming the Delaware River waterfront into a walkable and bikeable destination by officially opening the first permanent segment of the Delaware River Trail.

The trail, which was part of Mayor Nutter’s promise in founding DRWC, will eventually span 6 miles along the waterfront. As Mayor Nutter noted, “We’ve raised the bar for Philadelphia by providing a world-class amenity for bikers and pedestrians. This is another example of the type of strategic investment that will attract high-quality private development and new residents to help revitalize the Delaware River Waterfront. I’m looking forward to the finished project, a trail running the length of our central waterfront. My Administration is committed to working with DRWC to accomplish this goal.”

Before and After: Looking west from Delaware Avenue and Penn Street

Before and After: Looking north from Delaware Avenue and Penn Street


The next segment to be developed will run north from Ellen Street to the waterfront esplanade at SugarHouse Casino, eventually connecting to Penn Treaty Park in Fishtown. The SugarHouse trail segment is expected to be completed in Fall 2013 and will be built to the same high standards as the Penn Street segment. The trail was designed and built by DRWC with funding from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) and the William Penn Foundation.


Some facts about the Delaware River Trail:

  • Running for 1400 linear feet, from Spring Garden Street to Ellen Street, this trail segment incorporates streetscape improvements that will be used for the entire waterfront trail, which will eventually run from Oregon Avenue to Allegheny Avenue. 
  • The first of its kind in the city in providing a 12’ bi-directional bikeway separated from a 10’ pedestrian walkway, all buffered from the street by plantings and a curb.
  • The design includes rain gardens that will collect the first inch of storm water, relieving the city sewer system during major weather events, as well as beautiful and distinctive street furniture, including benches and bike racks, decorative street pavers, and innovative solar trail lighting.
  • The trail segment is part of the East Coast Greenway and the Circuit, which provide a crucial bicycle network connection for the city and region.  It also creates an important connection to Spring Garden Street, the site of a planned bike trail connecting the Delaware River to the Schuylkill River. 
  • DRWC worked closely with the Philadelphia Streets Department, Water Department and PennDOT to design and construct the trail.  Construction was coordinated with local residents and businesses, including nearby Yards Brewery, Waterfront Square, and SugarHouse Casino. The trail was designed by RBA Group and constructed by AP Construction with assistance from Johnson, Mirmiran, and Thompson for permitting and construction management. Civic engagement was performed in coordination with the Central Delaware Advocacy Group.
More BEFORE photos:
More AFTER photos: