Recently, a wave of development has hit the Delaware River waterfront within the River Wards neighborhoods.
Condos and apartment buildings, parks, revitalized abandoned lots and sinister stretches of streets are slowly being transformed into a thriving waterfront.
Meandering through this development will one day be the completed Delaware River Trail, a five-mile bike and pedestrian stretch that will provide easier access to a waterfront that has been so long remote.
Small sections of the trail are already accessible. The Port Richmond Trail, designed by Delaware River City Corporation, was officially opened a few weeks ago.
The Penn Street Trail, located in Fishtown, welcomed its first bikers, runners, and walkers this past June.
So where in the River Wards will the trail go next? According to the Philadelphia Department of Streets, the trail will come to Bridesburg.
While still in the initial implementation phase, construction of the Bridesburg Trail will begin early this spring. Vadim Fleysh, the Streets Engineer Manager for the Philadelphia Department of Streets, elaborated on the process.
“Bids for constructions were accepted in November and we are following the process of awarding a contract,” he explained.
With construction projected to begin in early spring, Fleysh says the process can be expected to last approximately two years. The first section of the Bridesburg Trail will begin on Lewis Street, where the Port Richmond Trail ends, and continue to Orthodox Street, following Delaware Avenue.
“The bike path of the trail will run alongside the old railway and a sidewalk will be on the other side,” said Fleysh.
Aesthetically, bikers and pedestrians can expect something similar to the existing Port Richmond Trail.
“There will be lights to light the path and there will be trees,” confirmed Fleysh. There will also be a new bridge built next to the existing bridge that will allow the trail to continue over the Frankford Creek.
At completion, Phase 1 of the Bridesburg Trail will be approximately .6 miles long.
Although the Bridesburg Trail is a project of the Department of Streets, the Delaware River City Corporation has been involved since the design process.
The non-profit organization is the one that designed the Port Richmond Trail, and its overall mission is to ensure the successful implementation of the North Delaware Greenway while brining adjacent communities to the river through trails and parks,
ldquo;We have been consulting with the Streets Department during the design process to express our expectations of the trail,” stated Thomas Branigan, Executive Director of the Delaware River City Corporation.
Branigan echoed the details confirmed by Fleysh of what the Delaware River City Corporation is calling Phase 1 of the Bridesburg Trail. “This Bridesburg section of the trail will link Lewis Street to Orthodox. It will meander under the Betsy Ross Bridge and follow the old railroad tracks,” he said.
The Lewis Street to Orthordox street section is only the first part of the Bridesburg trail.
ldquo;Phase 2 will link the first section, or Phase 1, of the trail to Buckius Street,” explained Branigan. The eventual stretch of trail from Lewis Street to Buckius street will be just under a mile long, at .95.
“Obviously, the biggest part of the project is actually building the road,” acknowledged Branigan.
Fleysh explained that Phase 2 is currently being studied, but eventually the trail will connect from Buckius Street to Bridge Street. But as confirmed by the Department of Streets, building will begin soon.
So what does this mean for those residing in and around the construction area of this trail?
According to Fleysh, a website will be created once the contract is awarded and construction begins. He also assured that the community would be involved during the process.
“The contractor has a provision in the contract to keep the community informed. There will be community meetings.” The Delaware River City Corporation will also have updates as they are available on their website, http://drcc-phila.org/.