Philly-area biking enthusiasts chart a route toward 750 miles of trails

If you want to take a bike ride in the greater Philadelphia region, you’ve got plenty of options. Kelly Drive along the Schuylkill River. Pennypack Park in the Northeast. The Delaware-Lehigh trails in Bucks County. All told: 250 miles of officially designated trails.

There is a hitch.

“Right now they’re not connected to each other — you can go a mile here, a mile there and you’re stuck,” said Nicholas Mirra, spokesman for the Bike Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

On Thursday, his group joined local politicians as well as other supporting nonprofits at Center City’s recently constructed Schuylkill Banks trail. There, they laid out a vision for expansion.

The see 750 miles of trails stretching from South Jersey to Philadelphia to central Pennsylvania -— all connected in one vast, entangled web. They call it “The Circuit.”

“We are not just building more and more miles of trail,” said Alex Doty, executive director of the coalition. “We’re building miles of interconnected trail so that you can get on the circuit in the same way as you can get on the interstate system and know that you are connected to a larger whole.”

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter was on hand for the proceedings. He said the plan will help Philly attract job-creating corporations.

“Every time a new section of trail is completed, the lights of economic and civic activity shine a little brighter in this city and in this region,” he said.

The project is expected to cost $250 million and take up to 25 years to complete. Funding for the full extent of the project has yet to be secured.

For more information, visit Connect the Circuit.

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