Urban Engineers is pleased to announce that Schuylkill Banks’ South to Christian Trail Extension project was a 2019 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence recipient. Urban provided conceptual planning, preliminary engineering, and final design for this 1,400-foot long trail extension to the Schuylkill River Development Corporation (SRDC) which weaves through a narrow swath of land along the east bank of the Schuylkill River and sits adjacent to an active CSX railroad.
“Prioritizing and protecting our environment is fundamental to maintaining Pennsylvania’s natural resources and preserving our commonwealth for future generations,” said Gov. Tom Wolf in a press release about the awards. “I’m so pleased to present awards to these deserving Pennsylvanians and I thank them for their contributions.”
“We are excited to congratulate SRDC on the successful completion of this project and on this environmental excellence recognition,” said Chris Gubeno, PE, an Urban vice president and general manager for aviation and site/land development. “Urban was proud to partner on this project and we look forward to the continued development of the Schuylkill River Trail.”
The benefits of Schuylkill Banks’s South to Christian Trail Extension project includes the expansion of recreation and healthy-living opportunities for the surrounding communities, an enhanced riparian buffer for urban wildlife and migrating waterfowl, shoreline stabilization, improved stormwater management and improved water quality. The South to Christian trail and greenway project cleared six acres of invasive vegetation from the Schuylkill riverbank, remediated the contaminated soil of this previously industrial brownfield site, stabilized 200 linear feet of the riverbank with habitat-sensitive elements such as live staking, planted 127 new trees, 6,544 new native and well-adapted grasses and flowering perennials, strengthened the riparian buffer and created vital habitat for urban wildlife and migrating waterfowl.
The Schuylkill River Development Corporation brought in Urban to manage a diverse consultant team consisting of civil, landscape, structural, marine, environmental, and lighting disciplines. Urban worked closely with numerous stakeholders including the Philadelphia Water Department, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and CSX to resolve project challenges and develop a design that will provide a unique and memorable experience for trail users.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence recipients were chosen among 28 applicants. Any individual, business, school, government agency, or community organization in Pennsylvania was eligible to apply. DEP evaluated projects for their degree of environmental protection, innovation, partnership efforts, economic impact, consideration of climate change, and sustainability and results achieved.