Secretary Dunn announces the Spring Garden Street Greenway Grant. Photo Credit: PA DCNR

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced on August 4, 2022 a $1 million grant to the city of Philadelphia to assist in completing the final design for the Spring Garden Street Greenway.

“DCNR is thrilled to join other partners supporting this project, which helps us close one of our Top 10 Trail Gaps and achieves our goal of a trail within 10 minutes of every Pennsylvanian,” Dunn said. “This project will serve all Philadelphia residents by providing a safe, walkable/bikeable route across town and connecting all to the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers, the East Coast Greenway, SEPTA stations, businesses, schools and more.’

The Spring Garden Street Greenway is a 2.1-mile walking/biking path that is part of the East Coast Greenway. In Philadelphia the East Coast Greenway crosses Center City via Spring Garden Street on the planned segment. It will link the Schuylkill River Trail to the Delaware River Trail.

“On behalf of the City of Philadelphia, we are thrilled to be a part of this historic collaborative effort for the Spring Garden Street Connector project,” said Michael Carroll, Deputy Managing Director of the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure & Sustainability. “The project will ultimately improve safety and accessibility in Philadelphia and get us closer to our Vision Zero goals. I am excited to see this corridor transform into an equitable and environmentally sustainable roadway for all Philadelphians in the near future.”

The Spring Garden section is part of greater Philadelphia’s Circuit Trails network of more than 800 miles.

Underserved residents of the adjacent Chinatown neighborhood, residents of two large public housing complexes along the corridor as well as senior housing at the Guild House on Spring Garden Street will be able to utilize the greenway to access trails and parks along both the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, including Fairmount Park, Philadelphia’s largest park, and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

“The level of collaboration and support at the city, state and federal levels and by a private funder like the William Penn Foundation is testament to the fact that the Spring Garden Street Connector is a project that is vital to a vast cross-section of city residents and organizations – from businesses, to neighborhood associations, to educational institutions – and all who call this city home,” said Sarah Stuart Clark, chair of the Circuit Trails Coalition and executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. “By completing this priority trail gap for both the Circuit Trails and the East Coast Greenway, we help make travel safer whether on foot or on wheels, and we improve access and connectivity across the city, and that’s good for everyone.”

DCNR’s $1 million commitment leveraged $2.1 million from the William Penn Foundation, $1.4 million from the City of Philadelphia and $500,000 from the PennDOT.

“The William Penn Foundation has supported greenways and trails for many years to connect people to green spaces and to our region’s waterways,” William Penn Foundation Executive Director Shawn McCaney said. “Our commitment to that important work continues with an investment of more than $2 million toward this transformative project, which will connect Philadelphia’s two beautiful riverfronts, and will do so incorporating green stormwater infrastructure that will help keep those rivers clean for the long term.”

“Connecting Philadelphians to green spaces, trails and outdoor recreation is a priority of mine which is why advocating for this funding was so vital to me,” state Representative Mary Isaacson (D-175) said. “This historic investment in the district and people I represent is a proud and significant moment for all of us who have been fighting for these transformations for so many years. Closing this trail gap is a step forward for current and future generations who will benefit from its access, and it serves as a catalyst for increased environmental stewardship across our city and Commonwealth.”

“Since taking office in 2012, I recognized the importance of the Spring Garden Street Connector for the Circuit Trails and, therefore, am very excited for this announcement!” City Councilperson Mark Squilla said. “We now have the funding needed to connect the Schuylkill River Trail to the Delaware River Trail, and I am grateful for the public private partnership that brought this project to fruition. The long planning process, inclusive of many constituencies, has led to a design for bicyclists and pedestrians to access and recreate safely, in a beautiful environment, for many years to come.”

DCNR previously provided $500,000 toward feasibility studies for the project. All grants are supported by the Community Conservation Partnerships Program through the Keystone Fund, generated from a portion of the real estate transfer tax.

With support for design, the project team anticipates leveraging opportunities to construct the Spring Garden Street Greenway in the next five years.