In mid-June, TTF hosted Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (BCGP) members on a ride along the Tacony Creek Park trail. 10 cyclists, including BCGP Director Sarah Clark Stuart, met up at the I St. and Ramona Ave. Gateway for a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the park.
From I & Ramona we headed northward. The Tacony Creek trail is just over 3 miles long, spanning from Juniata Park up to Cheltenham Avenue in Olney (the Philadelphia/Montgomery County Line.)
Our trail is a small link in a larger network of trails known as The Circuit. This initiative, supported by a broad coalition, (including TTF and the Bicycle Coalition) is aimed at connecting over 750 miles of trails throughout Greater Philadelphia region. The Frankford Creek Greenway is now in development, and will serve as the link between the southern end of the Tacony Creek trail down to the Delaware Avenue extension, part of the 3,000 mile East Coast Greenway.
Connecting these links means that you will eventually be able to ride from Tacony Creek Park all the way north to Calais, Maine or south to Key West, Florida. Though we may not have many takers for that challenge, these connections mean safer, designated biking and walking routes throughout our communities, empowering and enabling people to get around without relying on a car or public transportation.
The Tacony Creek trail is a pleasant ride. Despite two or three tough intersections, most of the trail runs through the woods along the creek, with plenty of shade cast from the mature trees. Most of the trail is set well within the park, away from the traffic and noise of the neighborhood. Roosevelt Boulevard cuts the trail in half, dividing the park north and south. Crossing here can be intimidating, sometimes requiring a wait for two separate traffic signals. In the next few years, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation plans to complete construction of a trail connector underneath the Boulevard, eliminating this pedestrian-vehicle conflict.
Since the southern half of the trail was paved two years ago, we’ve seen trail use really increase. This year, we’ve had two successful races, including our Healthy Trails 5k in April and the Peace Love and Run 5k organized by Latinas in Motion in June!
As we rode we saw lots of other neighbors! People were walking their dogs, and running or jogging. Check out this vimeo about Latinas in Motion and their regular runs in the park. Several groups of kids passed by on their bikes, enjoying their first days of summer vacation in the park. People often ride through the park on their morning commute to work, opting for the quiet trail over riding in traffic.
Seeing people using the trail is encouraging to us! For too long, Tacony Creek Park was written off as a dangerous place…a place to avoid. As more people use this space in positive ways, they will begin to displace the harmful activities. We know that as more people use this trail, the more they will value this park and the creek that flows through it.