Cut off by road, rail, and industry for many years, the communities of southwest Philadelphia, PA were disconnected from the beautiful Schuylkill River (named “Hidden River” by the area’s Dutch settlers). Recognizing the potential benefits of revitalizing this area, the City of Philadelphia (City) and the Schuylkill River Development Corporation (SRDC) sought Urban Engineers’ (Urban) help to remediate the blighted land for a new, recreational trail and greenway along the river.
Recently opened, Grays Ferry Crescent is the latest phase of an ongoing effort by the City and SRDC to connect trails along the Schuylkill River from Fairmount Park to Fort Mifflin by Philadelphia International Airport. This trail segment is a vital component of the planned 140-mile Schuylkill River Trail system and a new link in the East Coast Greenway. It not only improves access to the Lower Schuylkill River for visitors and residents but also provides scenic views for walkers, bicyclers, fishers, and wildlife enthusiasts. Funding for the project was from the Federal Highway Administration, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, the William Penn Foundation, and the City.
“Urban is proud to have been a part of a great success story of industrial Philadelphia: the resuscitation of an idle property to a greenway and multi-use trail,” said Hilary Holmes, PE, a key member of Urban’s multidisciplinary project team. Holmes designed the trail and layout, and assisted SRDC in obtaining necessary approvals and permits through the City, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. “Now, with multiple access points, over a mile of trails, recreational amenities, and beautiful riverfront views, Grays Ferry Crescent has reconnected the communities of Philadelphia to their ‘Hidden River.’”