Chester County Commissioners Michelle Kichline, Kathi Cozzone and Terence Farrell formally accepted a grant award this week that will allow work to begin on a study to examine the feasibility of developing a multiuse trail to serve communities in southern Chester County.
“We’re excited for the County to begin this feasibility study and public engagement process,” said Commissioners’ Chair Michelle Kichline. “Southern Chester County residents could use more access to trails. More and more residents are becoming interested in using alternative modes of transportation such as walking and biking, and this project addresses that need.”
The Southern Chester County Circuit Trail Feasibility Study seeks to identify a feasible alignment for the development of an off-road, multiuse trail to connect the boroughs and growth areas in southern Chester County to the Brandywine Trail and the Circuit – the 800-plus-mile network of existing and planned multiuse trails throughout the Greater Philadelphia area.
Previous Circuit trail planning identified the active Octorara freight line as the alignment to provide this trail connection when the railroad corridor was expected to be abandoned; however, it has since been removed as a Circuit alignment due to the active status and long-term economic viability of the rail corridor serving the mushroom, produce and agricultural industries.
“Given the interest in trails and the need for pedestrian and bicycle mobility in southern Chester County, this study will research alternatives to establish access to the Circuit and provide active transportation connections between these communities,” said Commissioner Kathi Cozzone.
This project was identified in Landscapes3, the County’s comprehensive plan, which has a recommendation of creating a countywide, interconnected trail network. The goal of the feasibility study is to identify a continuous multiuse trail alignment in southern Chester County that will connect the growth areas in, and between, the boroughs and villages within the
U.S. Route 1/Baltimore Pike corridor. The project study area includes the following municipalities: Kennett Square, Avondale, West Grove, Oxford, Pennsbury, Kennett Township, New Garden, London Grove, Penn, Upper Oxford, Lower Oxford, and East Marlborough.
The Chester County Planning Commission, in conjunction with partner agencies and other County departments, will complete this feasibility study culminating in a final report by the end of 2020. The study will determine whether a continuous multiuse trail is feasible and, if so, what would be required for implementation. If a continuous multiuse trail is not feasible, the report will potentially identify a network of bicycle and pedestrian facilities such as bike lanes, sidewalks and other active transportation facilities to create safe connections between the growth areas and connect to the Circuit.
“Our trails are such an important part of the strong quality of place in Chester County, not just for recreation, but as real transportation alternatives,” said Chester County Commissioner Terence Farrell. “The feasibility study will kick-off in the coming weeks and will include a robust public engagement process to help identify multiple alignment alternatives for evaluation.”
The public engagement process will include a steering committee, three public meetings, and public survey, among other outreach methods throughout the project duration. The steering committee will include representatives from municipalities, County departments, and other partner organizations. Partial funding for this project comes from the Regional Trails Program, administered by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission with funding from the William Penn Foundation.