On Monday, June 11th, Philadelphians will have the opportunity to see, review, and provide feedback on the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation’s (DRWC) first round of designs for the Delaware River Trail (DRT) segment running between Washington Avenue and Spring Garden Street on the east side of Columbus Boulevard/Delaware Avenue.
This DRT segment advances a key recommendation of the Master Plan for the Central Delaware, which identified a continuous multi-use trail running the length of the waterfront as a critical element of the Plan’s vision. It has been designed with a team led by NV5 to improve safety for all modes of travel along Columbus Boulevard, accommodating walkers, joggers, and cyclists and providing clear separation from motorists.
This continuation of the DRT uses the design and engineering shown in the construction of the Penn Street Trail, the first showpiece section running between Spring Garden Street and Penn Street that opened in 2013. Work is currently underway in both the North and South sections of the DRT, which will link to create a 3.4 mile contiguous protected bike and pedestrian trail.
The multi-use trail helps to fill a gap in the city’s existing bicycle network by providing a protected lane for walkers, joggers, and cyclists along the high-trafficked Columbus Boulevard. It also provides a link between waterfront parks and destinations like the Race Street Pier, Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest and Winterfest, Spruce Street Harbor Park Sustained by Univest and Washington Avenue Pier. The trail will also create direct and easy connections to existing and planned parts of the city’s bicycle network as well as the larger Circuit Trails network.
Noted Lizzie Woods, Vice President of Planning and Capital Programs for DRWC, “As much as I-95 is often held up as a major physical and psychological barrier between the city and the waterfront, we’ve heard from many people that Columbus Boulevard often presents a similar impediment to reaching and enjoying the waterfront for people walking and biking. We are really excited about the potential of this new amenity to improve the safety and comfort of all residents of and visitors to the waterfront. This is just the latest way that we are systematically implementing the recommendations of the Master Plan and working to achieve its goal of connecting Philadelphia to its waterfront.”
Key design features include a curb-separated, bi-directional asphalt bicycle path and separate pedestrian sidewalk as well as new landscaping, pedestrian lighting, and street furnishings. The trail varies in width based on the availability of public right-of-way, reaching a maximum of 38’, allowing generous landscaped buffers to protect different modes of travel and provide an attractive addition to the waterfront experience. The trail takes advantage of the space currently used as sidewalk and a bike lane to create a safer and more pleasant experience for all users.
The construction of this segment of the DRT will be the first step in the implementation of the ambitious Penn’s Landing Redevelopment Project. That project, which is funded through PennDOT, City of Philadelphia, and philanthropic sources, also funds the construction of the new cap over I-95 between Chestnut and Walnut Streets and the extension of the South Street Pedestrian Bridge. While engineering and design of those infrastructure elements is expected to be complete in about two and a half years, the design of the DRT was accelerated and is anticipated to begin construction in 2019 and be complete ahead of the construction of the cap and the extension of the South Street Pedestrian Bridge.
Estimated cost for this segment of the trail is $21 million, including design and construction. Design was funded by the William Penn Foundation. Over the next several months, DRWC will refine the design based on feedback from community members and regulatory agencies, at which point it will go through the permitting process and then out to bid. Construction is projected to last 18-24 months.
DRWC is asking Philadelphians from neighboring communities and beyond to join the organization for a Public Design Meeting on Monday, June 11th at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest (101 S. Columbus Blvd). The DRWC project team and design team will be on-hand to answer all questions and to collect feedback. For those who can’t make the meeting, feedback can be provided via our website.