Urban provided planning, design, and construction services for a high-priority segment in Philadelphia's Trail Master Plan
Designated a high-priority segment in Philadelphia’s Trail Master Plan, the South to Christian trail segment will ultimately connect the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk to the north with Grays Ferry Crescent and Bartram’s Garden to the south. The Schuylkill River Development Corporation brought in Urban to perform conceptual planning, preliminary engineering, and final design for this 1,400-foot long trail extension, which weaves through a narrow swath of land along the east bank of the Schuylkill River and sits adjacent to an active CSX railroad.
Urban managed a diverse consultant team consisting of civil, landscape, structural, marine, environmental, and lighting disciplines. Project elements included a 100-foot long retaining wall, three plaza areas along the river bank, two riparian restoration areas, and integration of a pedestrian bridge that connects with the new Children’s Hospital complex. Proposed landscaping for the trail extension was designed to emphasize a natural setting, with native grasses and meadow mixes serving as transitional areas between the trail and preserved woodland edge adjacent to the river.
Following completion of a feasibility study, Urban developed a full set of plans, specifications, and estimates for construction of the trail. The site presented multiple design challenges, including a narrow footprint, a deteriorating bulkhead edge, soil contamination throughout the site, and limited construction access due to physical constraints on all sides. Urban worked closely with numerous stakeholders including the Philadelphia Water Department, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and CSX to resolve these issues and develop a design that will provide a unique and memorable experience for trail users.