Philadelphia planning nation’s largest bike trail network

By Karl Rosengarth

A public-private coalition in the greater Philadelphia area is working to create a network of bicycle/pedestrian trails that, when connected, will be the nation’s most comprehensive metropolitan trail system.

Dubbed "The Circuit", the network will be formed by creating new trail segments that interconnect the 750 miles of trails that already exist, from southern New Jersey to central Pennsylvania. Not only a boon to bicycle commuters, The Circuit will also offer longer-distance recreational routes, and a connection to the East Coast Greenway—a developing traffic-free trail system between Canada and Key West, Florida.

Behind the effort is the 17-organization Circuit Coalition—a collaboration of foundations, governmental agencies, non-profits, and the private sector. To date, the Coalition has scored a $23.2 million TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for trail construction, $5 million in federal stimulus funding for the Chester Valley Trail, and a $10 million grant from the William Penn Foundation toward trail construction and planning for dozens of trail projects throughout a nine-county region.

The Coalition recently launched a website that has maps and information on the trail network and allows users to share their favorite routes and to get involved in completing the trail network.

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