Update: The Latest Community Effort to Make the Schuylkill River Trail Safer

Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk | Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia™

Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk | Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia™

Back in December, after stories of cyclists and runners being harassed by teenagers on the Schuylkill River Trail began to circulate, Jon Lyons, founder of Run215 and a stakeholder on the Schuylkill River Trail Steering Committee, wrote a piece for us breaking down how, exactly, the committee, with the help of Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and the city, was working to make the SRT safer.

The efforts he talked about then included increased patrol, repairs to lighting along the trail, and the improvement of mile markers and trail signage, among other pushes to make sure people feel safe using the trail. Now, after three new incidents of people being harassed on the trail were reported this week, the steering committee, along with Johnson, has added another effort, this one community-based, to the mix in order to make the trail safer for all users: Meet the Schuylkill River Trail Community Watch, a volunteer program consisting of trained members of the community who will be tasked with patrolling the trail and promoting a positive, safe environment for all users. Read more »

Morning Headlines: Attackers Back on Schuylkill Trail

Good morning, Philadelphia. The snow is beginning to fall and stick across the region. We’re not expected to get a lot — about an inch — but please be careful out there. Here’s what else you need to know:

Attacks return to the Schuylkill River Trail, arrests made.

The young men on bikes who have been robbing joggers, walkers and riders on the Schuylkill River Trail are back after going into hiding when police stepped up patrols on the trail. Trail users were relieved of cash and possessions in three separate incidents on two days this week, according to a 6ABC report. In the most recent incident on Wednesday, things got violent when the victim refused to unlock his cell phone and the young men began to punch and kick him. Police arrested four young men a few minutes after that incident, while other incidents reportedly remain under investigation. Residents living near the trail have been concerned about the attacks for months, and City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson has formed a task force to come up with ways to make the trail safer. Read more »

The Checkup: The Schuylkill River Has Some Awesome New Riverside Trails in Its Future

Photo via Schuylkill Banks/Facebook

Photo via Schuylkill Banks/Facebook

• If you plan on sticking around Philly for the next few years, you can look forward to many-a trail run along new riverside trails: Last week, the Schuylkill River Development Corporation released their strategic plan for the next four years, and there are some awesome trail additions, with predicted completion dates ranging from this year to 2026, in the works. [Curbed] Read more »

This Is How the City Is Making the Schuylkill River Trail Safer

Editor’s note: Over the summer, reports began to surface on social media of assaults occurring on the Schuylkill River Trail. Stories emerged of cyclists being shoved off their bikes, runners being chased and cornered and women being assaulted. Multiple accounts described a group of teens on bikes perpetrating the incidents. In September, local media began reporting on what was going on, as police began investigating one specific incident that involved a female runner being surrounded by a group of teens on bikes and being slapped on her backside. 

We followed the postings and back-and-forth on the very active Run215 Facebook page, where a lot of folks pointed out issues with the trail itself (lights being out, lack of consistent police patrolling, etc.) that made the SRT less safe than it should be. Not surprisingly (to those who know him, anyway), founder Jon Lyons soon took the lead, organizing advocacy efforts and working with local officials to make changes to the trail that would help keep users safe.

Since then, he’s worked with other groups to meet with city officials on two occasions, with more meetings planned for the future. Below, you’ll find Jon’s report on the second meeting, which happened just last week. The takeaway? That the city is taking this seriously, and change, at last, is coming.  Read more »

Schuylkill River Trail Update: Bartram’s Mile to Break Ground November 23rd

Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk | Photograph by Laura Kicey

Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk | Photograph by Laura Kicey

Would you like to see the Schuylkill River Trail become just a wee bit longer? Well, mark your calendars, folks, because the long-planned Bartram’s Mile trail, the future mile-long section of the Schuylkill River Trail, will break ground this Monday, November 23rd.

Commencing at 11:00am, the Monday groundbreaking will take place at Bartram’s Mile North and will count Mayor Michael Nutter, elected officials, Bartram’s Garden Executive Director Maitreyi Roy and others as speakers. The event is open to the public and will include light refreshments and ample free street parking. (Further details here.)

Image courtesy of SRDC | More renderings below.

Bartram’s Mile is set to run along the west Schuylkill riverbank from Grays Ferry Avenue to 56th Street and will eventually link to to the Schuylkill River Trail, thereby extending trail access to Southwest Philadelphia and historic Bartram’s Garden. How will this happen? Well, because Bartram’s Mile will be on the Schuylkill’s western bank (the first segment of the trail to be on this side), it will have to connect to the Gray’s Ferry Crescent trail on the eastern bank by way of a novel, though not unheard of, method: a swing bridge.

Read more »

The New Manayunk Bridge Trail to Open This Month

The Manayunk Bridge will soon connect both sides of the Schuylkill River | Photo: Liz Spikol

The Manayunk Bridge will soon connect both sides of the Schuylkill River | Photo: Liz Spikol

The connection of Schuylkill River Trail and Cynwyd Hertiage Trail will soon be complete, as the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia announced that the $4.12 million Manayunk Bridge Trail project will be unveiled at a ribbon cutting scheduled for 11 a.m. on October 30.

So runners, bikers and photographers, you better have your gear ready, because this one looks like it’s going to be a go-to spot for all of your routines.

The ambitious project will transform the iconic Manayunk Bridge, which owner SEPTA closed in 1986 due low ridership of the Ivy Ridge regional rail line, into what amounts to a Northwest Philly Highline-esque park, featuring dedicated running and biking lanes and a central walking/leisure area. Of course, all of these zones will get to experience sweeping views of the Schuylkill River.

Read more »

Here’s How Much Money Sly Fox’s Schuylkill River Trail Ale Raised for the SRT

SRT aleRemember waaaaaay back in January when we told you about Sly Fox Brewing Company’s new Schuylkill River Trail Ale, a canned beer that would help raise money to improve and expand the Schuylkill River Trail? Well the final totals are in and the check has been cut: In all, sales from the SRT Ale resulted in a donation of $4,018 to the Schuylkill River Heritage Area.  Read more »

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