By Isaac Steinberg
The developing vision for a trail that would allow Philadelphians to jog, bike and walk along the central Delaware Riverfront was given a serious boost by Mayor Michael Nutter Thursday night during the presentation of the Central Delaware Advisory Group’s 10-step, 10-year action plan for the waterfront.
During a speech at the Independence Seaport Museum, Nutter pledged that the city will match the $250,000 William Penn Foundation grant issued last year for the creation of a seven-mile trail.
Trail architect and Center City District President and CEO Paul Levy has been championing the early-action project, which would initially run from the Wal*Mart in South Philadelphia to Penn’s Landing.
“To me, it is very simple,” Levy said. “Six to nine months from now this can be accomplished.”
Taking advantage of the Schuylkill River trail – while in progress
Levy likened the effort to the successful trail along the Schuylkill River and said the purpose of the multi-use trail is to give back a significant part of the waterfront to the people of Philadelphia.
The trail “would allow Philadelphians to get on the waterfront every day,” he said. “I will not ride a bike with my daughter on Delaware Avenue. We need a safe place for our kids.”
Levy also said the trail could connect cyclists to the Ben Franklin Bridge and the already developed bike and walking trail along the Camden waterfront.
Nutter also noted that the trail – which he would like up and running in the next few months – would positively impact his plan to increase Philadelphia’s population by 75,000 people within the next 10 years. “The waterfront area with the bike trail will help contribute 10,000 people” to that effort, he said.
In a previous article written by Matt Blanchard http://www.planphilly.com/node/1802, Levy had this to say about the project. “The trail is more than an investment in recreation; it’s an investment in public opinion. The more people out there using the riverfront, the more we have a constituency for public amenities on the waterfront.”
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