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Advocates Trying to Extend Radnor Trail

The Haverford Township Board of Commissioners will consider next week whether to show support for a feasibility study for extension of the Radnor Trail.

Advocates of extending the Radnor Trail are seeking support from the Haverford Township Board of Commissioners for a feasibility study for the extension of the trail.

At the commissioners' work session on Monday night, John Fischer, president of the Radnor Conservancy, was one of the speakers on behalf of a coalition of bicycle and trail advocates that formed the Valley Forge to John Heinz Coalition.

The goal of the Valley Forge to John Heinz Coalition is to try to extend the trail westward to Valley Forge National Park and eastward to Heinz National Refuge through the use of existing trails as well as new ones.  If extended, the trail  would run 24 miles through Chester, Delaware and Philadelphia counties and several municipalities, including Haverford Township, said Sarah Clark Stuart, campaign director for the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

The coalition is made up of several organizations, including the Philadelphia Parks Alliance, the Radnor Conservancy and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the Delaware County Cycling Coalition, Rails to Trails Conservancy, Clean Air Council, East Coast Greenway Alliance, and Delaware Association of Rail Passengers, said Stuart.

Fischer said the one drawback of the Radnor Trail, a 2.4 mile walking and fitness trail in Wayne, is that the trail is land-locked.

Fischer asked the Haverford Township Board of Commissioners to consider adopting a resolution that indicates the township supports a feasibility study of the trail extension proposal. He stressed that the resolution did not signal the township’s approval of the proposal, or commit the township to spending any money.

The Delaware County Planning Commission, which has been asked to be the applicant on the grant to fund the feasibility study, wants to know that Haverford Township is on board with the feasibility study, Fischer said, adding that the study is estimated to cost between $100,000 and $150,000.

As part of the proposed extension, the coalition is proposing to create a new portion of trail that would run next to the Route 100 Norristown High Speed Line—and include a section that would run through Haverford, Stuart said. The high speed line was built for four tracks but only two of the tracks are used, Stuart said.

SEPTA supports the idea conceptually and there are other examples of trails around the country that are next to live passenger lines, Stuart said.

After the presentation, Board of Commissioners President William Weschler said the board will vote on whether to support the resolution for a feasibility study of the trail extension proposal at its regular board meeting on Monday, Aug. 8 at 7:30 p.m.

A Powerpoint presentation of the goal can be found in the PDF section of this article.

Frank August 05, 2011 at 02:05 PM
Great to see some thinking like this!
Metoxic August 06, 2011 at 05:27 PM
Turf the Trail! Win-win! What ever happened to the other plan to extend the Radnor Trail to a loop behind Leaming's? If I remember correctly, the group behind the idea didn't want bicycles on this part. Would they fight a regional bike trail?
John Dallas Bowers August 06, 2011 at 06:48 PM
My concern is that extending the trail would surely draw many more serious cyclists, a scenario that would make walking there (especially with children in tow) a lot less enjoyable and considerably more dangerous. I hope in our zeal to create some sort of bicycle "interstate" that we don't lose one of the few places in the township where residents can walk (or run) safely in a sylvan setting.

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