Findings from the City of Philadelphia’s public input process on the Spring Garden Street Improvement Project is a major step forward in advancing plans to create a safe, all-ages biking and walking connection along the corridor, said representatives of the Circuit Trails Coalition. The Spring Garden Street Greenway, a priority project for the coalition that is working to connect over 800 miles of trail across the Philadelphia and South Jersey region, will create new walking and biking access for residents, commuters and visitors alike to jobs, services and amenities along Spring Garden Street, from Schuylkill Banks to the Delaware River Trail.
In response to the positive news, the Circuit Trails Coalition is calling on the public to immediately show their support for funding the Spring Garden Street Improvement Project. The coalition is calling on the city to make the project a top priority and seek Federal funding to complete the remaining stages of design and construction to have it completed by 2025, meeting the goals of the City’s Strategic Transportation Plan, High Quality Bicycle Network, Vision Zero Action Plan, and “Green City, Clean Waters.” A public petition is available at: http://bicyclecoalition.nonprofitsoapbox.com/spring-garden.
“The Greenway will vastly improve access to the many residences, businesses and institutions on the corridor by prioritizing the safety of the most vulnerable users of the street—including people with mobility issues, children, families, older adults, delivery workers and people walking, using transit and biking,” said Daniel Paschall, Mid-Atlantic Coordinator for the East Coast Greenway Alliance and a member of the Circuit Trails steering committee. “We need to bring urgency to the project and make sure that the city takes quick action to invest in this plan.”
The executive summary of findings released by the city found that the public showed strong support for improving safety for people walking and biking, in particular safety from fast-moving, illegally parked, and turning vehicles, both at key intersections and throughout the corridor. In particular, the public expressed support for a curbside traffic-separated bikeway at sidewalk level, protected intersections, and improved crossings for pedestrians. Additionally, there was a call for a well-maintained and beautiful corridor with greenery, which would create safer and more intuitive connections to nearby neighborhoods and trails like the Schuylkill Banks and the Delaware River Trail, filling a critical gap in the region’s Circuit Trails Network, and the 3,000-mile-long East Coast Greenway from Maine to Florida.
“When the Pennsylvania Environmental Council initiated the Spring Garden Street Greenway conversation 10 years ago seeking a safe connection between the Delaware and Schuylkill Trails, this city had no experience with truly separated bike facilities,” said Patrick Starr of PEC and the Pennsylvania Chair of the Circuit Trail Coalition. “At that time, the public selected a median bikeway, but so much has changed since. I wholeheartedly endorse a curbside separated facility as the best possible outcome and commend the city for listening to the people. Now, let’s get it done.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission provided funding of the project’s current progress, spearheaded by the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation Infrastructure and Sustainability, Streets Department, Water Department, Department of Commerce, and the Planning Commission, as well as SEPTA. The coalition is committed to supporting city agencies in seeking the funding it needs to complete design and construction by 2025.