Regional Bike Trail System Unveiled


Mayor Nutter introduces The Circuit May 31 2012

Mayor Nutter introduces The Circuit May 31 2012 | Photo: Mike Szilagyi

What started in the 1970s as a two-and-a-half mile bike path demonstration project has grown slowly but steadily since that time, and was today recognized by mayors Nutter of Philadelphia and Dana Redd of Camden and other officials as an essential regional trail network with one all-encompassing new name: The Circuit.

1979 Schuylkill River Trail Groundbreaking

1979 Schuylkill River Trail Groundbreaking. Trail architect Jim Campbell (r).

At a press conference on Schuylkill Banks in Center City, officials praised the many benefits that trails bring to their constituents and their communities, not the least of which are recreation, healthy alternative transportation, and economic development. Part of a $10 million dollar grant by the William Penn Foundation specifically awarded for trail design, development, and construction was used to develop The Circuit’s interactive web site, which you can find HERE.

With 250 miles of trail complete and another 50 miles in progress, what’s ultimately envisioned is a 750-mile non-motorized transportation network spanning the entire tri-state area.

Photo: Rob Lybeck

What’s the price tag for such an ambitious plan? How about less than one percent of what the region spends on highway and transit capital spending each year. If funded at that one percent level on a consistent basis, in 25 years the 750 mile trail network would be a reality. As Sarah Clark Stuart, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia’s campaign director puts it, the investment “would leave our children and future generations with an incredible inheritance.”

About the author

Mike Szilagyi was born in the Logan neighborhood of Philadelphia, and raised in both Logan and what was the far edge of suburbia near Valley Forge. He found himself deeply intrigued by both the built landscape and by the natural “lay of the land.” Where things really get interesting is the fluid, intricate, multi-layered interface between the two.

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  1. Whoa, this exists?! Awesome!

  2. A lot of the trail network exists, but there’s still much work to be done. Critical gaps still need to be completed. The Connect the Circuit web site includes information on how each of us can help make that happen.

  3. The entire press conference can be viewed here:

    It is indeed gratifying to see so many prominent politicians speak so enthusiastically about the value of trails.

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