Trails and Connections

While each community was individually planning and developing projects, connections were often ignored in the past. As the benefits of these connections are realized, increased community collaboration focuses on these areas which include transportation links, highways, bridges, trails and the gateways to three communities in neighboring counties and townships.

Wissahickon Gateway

The Wissahickon Gateway is the crossroads for the communities of East Falls, Roxborough, Manayunk and Wissahickon. The Wissahickon Creek, Ridge Avenue, the Ramps for I76 and both bus and train public transportation links make up this area. It is ironic that this transportation hub for cars and public transportation is also the most dangerous break in the bike trail and pedestrian connections between the communities. The Wissahickon Gateway Plan focuses completely on this area of connections and broken connections and how this area functions as a gateway to our communities. As a result Parks and Recreation is now securing money to do an engineering study for possible bikeway links through the Wissahickon section.

The Wissahickon Gateway Plan examines these issues.

Wissahickon Gateway Proposed Cycle Lane

Drawing of how the Wissahickon Gateway area might accommodate bicycle and pedestrian uses.

PennDOT - Ridge Avenue Proposal

Secondly, a case was made with Penndot to consider removing some of the ramp bridges to I76 and coming on and off Ridge Avenue on grade. Penndot responded with a reworking of their design for the ramping and removal of one bridge. That area will come into Ridge Avenue on grade and create a T intersection. The new design will change a highway interchange into a more safe and pedestrian friendly and landscaped gateway to all of the communities.

Bridges to Lower Merion

As planning moved forward for the East Falls and Manayunk sections of the river, Lower Merion Township also began to focus on a green space and trail plan for Lower Merion, which is directly across the river from East Falls and Manayunk. Currently there are three bridges, two unused and one with little train traffic. At the request of the Lower Merion community, the communities jointly began to consider bike and pedestrian uses for the bridges that link the communities. The communities are now jointly, across county lines, working to move these trail projects forward.

In the fall of 2011 the Cynwyd Heritage Trail was officially opened. This 2-mile urban linear park winds through Lower Merion, between two large cemeteries, and along the Schuylkill River, and eventually will cross over the River into the Manayunk section of Philadelphia.