Schuylkill Banks Trail Master Plan*

SCHUYLKILL RIVER DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION  |  Philadelphia

The Schuylkill Banks Trail Master Plan extends the popular recreation trail from Center City terminus to a new destination–historic Bartram’s Garden on the Lower Schuylkill River. Due to the inherent difficulties of the property bordering the river’s edge the Master Plan consists of two trails—a waterfront multi-use trail and an on-street trail. Together these trails activate the river’s edge and revitalize a commercial community corridor. The trails both begin at South Street and run parallel to one another to Bartram’s Garden. Danielle served as the lead planner responsible for determining trail routes and guidelines for both water and land. In determining the routes, we assessed dozens of waterfront parcels for ownership rights, access points, assets and landmarks, and viability of trail development. In order to connect from the east side to the west side of the river, we proposed to reorient an existing railroad bridge for recreational users only. This unique solution makes use of a defunct, historic piece of infrastructure, keeps vehicular and recreation uses separate, and encourages users to have an intimate experience of the river. The success of the master plan is evident in the number of SRDC trail projects for which it laid the framework, including the ever popular on-water boardwalk completed in 2014, Grays Ferry Crescent Park completed in 2010, and the important bridge to Bartram’s Garden via the abandoned railroad bridge which is currently in design. 

*Work performed at MGA Partners