Rails-to-Trails Project Comes to Manayunk

The Schuylkill River is an economic, environmental, recreational, and aesthetic asset to southeastern Pennsylvania. The River’s industrial past can be seen in it’s canal, towpath, railroad, and bridges – all of which are coming together in a unique rail-to-trail project in the “Ivy Ridge” neighborhood of Philadelphia. This section of trail will help connect the Cynwyd Heritage Trail on the other side of the river – across the iconic Manayunk Bridge (in final design stage) – up to the Ivy Ridge train station where it will connect to the existing Umbria Street bike lanes. The steep topography on either side of the railbed makes for challenging (read: creative) connections to the residential areas and the existing canal towpath trail. The consultants provided a rough estimate of $3 million to construct this section of the trail – but we still need to come up with the money for the final design and engineering. I was disappointed to hear that they are ruling out porous pavement due to maintenance concerns and that vegetation on both the Manayunk and Leverington bridges may not be possible due to drainage and structural concerns.

The plan: Dupont Street to the Ivy Ridge Station

The plan: Dupont Street to the Ivy Ridge Station

The caternary towers (which hold active PECO and Amtrak wires) will remain ensuring the "rail-feeling" of this future trail.

The caternary towers (which hold active PECO and Amtrak wires) will remain ensuring the “rail-feeling” of this future trail.

The consultants have several creative ideas to ensure this trail is connected to existing parking areas and the popular towpath trail along the River.

The consultants have several creative ideas to ensure this trail is connected to existing parking areas and the popular towpath trail along the River.

Sunset view of where the future Ivy Ridge Trail crosses over the active Manayunk-Norristown SEPTA rail line.

Sunset view of where the future Ivy Ridge Trail crosses over the active Manayunk-Norristown SEPTA rail line.

Looking west towards the Leverington Bridge section.

Looking west towards the Leverington Bridge section.

Looking east down Canton Street from the other side of the Leverington Bridge.

Looking east down Canton Street from the other side of the Leverington Bridge.

The proposal includes more formal parking for residents along this section with additional stormwater management improvements.

The proposal includes more formal parking for residents along this section with additional stormwater management improvements.

For more trails updates visit: http://connectthecircuit.org/

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