Following Up: Southern Chester County Circuit Trail Final Public Meeting

In late October, the Chester County Planning Commission held a second and final public meeting for the Southern Chester County Circuit Trail Feasibility Study. There were more than 50 people who attended the virtual meeting – providing great feedback for the project team to move onto the study’s final phase.

The need for a multi-use trail in southern Chester County was initially identified during the update of Landscapes3 as a way to connect the area’s boroughs and growth areas to one another and to the Circuit ­- the greater Philadelphia area’s network of existing and planned trails. This would not only support the well-documented need for safe bicycle and pedestrian transportation options but also supports the Landscapes3 recommendation to “create a county-wide interconnected trail network.”

The project’s study area encompasses the municipalities along the Route 1 corridor including Kennett Square, Avondale, West Grove, and Oxford boroughs, as well as Pennsbury, Kennett, New Garden, London Grove, Penn, Upper Oxford, Lower Oxford, East Marlborough, East Nottingham, and West Nottingham townships.

“This project has been very challenging, on many fronts,” says Rachael Griffith, project manager of the Study. “There’s a lot of public support and need for a multi-use trail in this area, but whatever option we choose is going to be a big undertaking. The study area is nearly 30 miles long, and there are lots of competing interests that make it difficult to find one trail alignment that will meet everyone’s needs and that will be feasible to build.”

 

During the first public meeting in July, local trail enthusiasts and residents provided feedback on initial trail alignments and destinations. In the second public meeting in October, attendees were asked to consider the two selected trail alignments – one of which is along Baltimore Pike, and the other along the Route 1 Expressway – and determine which was more desirable.

While most agreed that both trail options would provide value, there was not a clear favorite between the two alignment options. Once the presentation concluded, the group was split into even smaller groups to discuss specific portions of the trail that users would find desirable or undesirable, best routes to connect the trail to major destinations, and potential trailhead and parking locations.

The project team will spend the next month analyzing the overall feasibility of the two routes and feedback from all public outreach, including the two public meetings, and a draft recommended trail alignment will then be determined, along with identifying an implementation strategy.

A draft report will be available for public comment this December. Visit the project website to view a recording of the two public meetings, or join the project mailing list in the “Leave Us a Comment” section to receive an email letting you know when the draft report is available on the website.

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. For more information, please contact Rachael Griffith, project manager for the study, at rgriffith@chesco.org.

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