Northeast Times

Happy trails

The city has laid out plans for the trail along Frankford Creek. The paved path will take hikers and bikers to the Delaware River.

  • Making greenway: Plans for the “Frankford Creek Greenway” include a bike and pedestrian trail that runs nearby the creek from Wingohocking Street in Juniata through Frankford and all the way to Bridesburg near the Delaware River. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTO

  • Making greenway: Plans for the “Frankford Creek Greenway” include a bike and pedestrian trail that runs nearby the creek from Wingohocking Street in Juniata through Frankford and all the way to Bridesburg near the Delaware River. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTO

Pic­ture the Frank­ford Creek. Go ahead.

You prob­ably can con­jure a por­trait of a dingy, shal­low urb­an stream sur­roun­ded by old fen­cing, graf­fit­ied walls and trash-filled weeds.

Now ima­gine it as a re­cre­ation site. That’s how the city is visu­al­iz­ing the nar­row wa­ter­way that serves as the North­east’s south­ern bor­der.

The Parks & Re­cre­ation De­part­ment and the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion have visu­al­ized a bike and ped­es­tri­an trail that runs along or nearby the creek from Win­go­hock­ing Street in Ju­ni­ata through Frank­ford and all the way to Brides­burg near the Delaware River.

Cur­rent plans for the “Frank­ford Creek Gre­en­way” were presen­ted Sept. 30 at a small pub­lic gath­er­ing at the Ju­ni­ata Golf Club on Cay­uga Street.

Be­sides look­ing for pub­lic in­put, there’s still a lot more plan­ning to be done be­fore any brush-clear­ing and con­struc­tion be­gins, said Rob Arm­strong, Park & Rec’s pre­ser­va­tion and cap­it­al pro­jects man­ager. Arm­strong said grants will pay for the pro­ject and that find­ing that money will take some time.

“We’re not go­ing to have bull­dozers out there to­mor­row,” he told the small gath­er­ing. 

The Gre­en­way is en­vi­sioned as be­gin­ning a block down Cay­uga Street where sim­il­ar trails end along the Ta­cony Creek. The Ta­cony, Arm­strong said, be­comes the Frank­ford Creek at Win­go­hock­ing Street. 

The trail’s concept began years ago with the Phil­adelphia Wa­ter De­part­ment as it was do­ing stream-res­tor­a­tion work, and a study of the pos­sib­il­it­ies of the Gre­en­way was com­pleted in 2007, Arm­strong said.

The Frank­ford Creek was “chan­nel­ized” in the 1950s, Arm­strong said. To con­trol flood­ing, the Army Corps of En­gin­eers put much of the creek in a con­crete chan­nel. Part of the creek is hid­den from view, too, he said, by a “cap.” 

There was no plan to what grew on that “roof on the creek,” Arm­strong said. The Gre­en­way work will give the city a chance to man­age the ve­get­a­tion.

Cur­rently, the plan is to build a 12-foot paved trail along the creek as it moves east from Win­go­hock­ing to­ward Kens­ing­ton Av­en­ue and then put the trail onto Kens­ing­ton Av­en­ue, which already has bike lanes, said city plan­ner Jean­nette Brug­ger, and then con­nect to Wom­rath Park. 

The trail will move away from the creek for a while and use Wor­rell Street, she said, be­cause the city doesn’t want the re­cre­ation plan to af­fect loc­al busi­nesses.

“We are try­ing to con­nect people to dif­fer­ent parks,” Arm­strong said, “but we can’t build a com­pletely nat­ur­al urb­an trail in this en­vir­on­ment.”

Brug­ger said the plan is to head the trail to­ward Adams Av­en­ue. Arm­strong said the Gre­en­way will be man­aged by the city to Wor­rell and Tor­res­dale.

At that point, the trail will be built in part­ner­ship with the Pennsylvania De­part­ment of Trans­port­a­tion as part of its Betsy Ross Bridge in­ter­change im­prove­ment pro­ject. 

Arm­strong said the trail will move along Adams Av­en­ue on mul­tiple-use side­walks and con­nect to Ara­mingo Av­en­ue. Adams Av­en­ue will be re­built. 

The trail will con­tin­ue down Ara­mingo and then turn onto Wheat­sheaf Lane, which Arm­strong said is pretty much an in­dus­tri­al area, so the im­pact on res­id­ents will be min­im­al. The trail will turn onto Rich­mond Street, which is more res­id­en­tial, Brug­ger said. 

Loc­al streets will be used with side paths, and trail users will be able to fol­low signs to get to an­oth­er trail along the Delaware. Hikers and bikers will then be able to use a trail net­work be­ing built up the East Coast. 

Arm­strong said the city hopes to put a park gate­way at Win­go­hock­ing Street, but “we want to be sens­it­ive to neigh­bors.” 

Arm­strong said as pub­lic in­put is as­sessed and designs are com­pleted, plan­ners will be ready to present a fi­nal plan some­time later this year or earli­er next year at the Globe Dye Works build­ing in Frank­ford.

“This area needs more ways to re­cre­ate,” Arm­strong said. “We want to make it hap­pen.” ••

Con­tact Rob Arm­strong at rob.arm­strong@phila.gov and Jean­nette Brug­ger at Jean­nette.Brug­ger@phila.gov.

PennDOT has ideas… 

The Pennsylvania De­part­ment of Trans­port­a­tion will host an open house pub­lic meet­ing on Thursday, Oct. 10, from 6 to 8 p.m. to present plans to im­prove In­ter­state 95 from Wheat­sheaf Lane to Levick Street and ex­tend Adams Av­en­ue. The open house will be held at the Brides­burg Boys and Girls Club at 2901 Bridge St. in Phil­adelphia. Park­ing for the club is loc­ated off Garden Street.

PennDOT is hold­ing the open house to up­date the com­munity on the cur­rent plans and sched­ules to re­build and widen I-95 and im­prove con­nec­tions at the Bridge Street and Betsy Ross Bridge in­ter­changes. The meet­ing also will fea­ture plans show­ing the ex­ten­sion of Adams Av­en­ue from Tor­res­dale Av­en­ue to Ara­mingo Av­en­ue to im­prove traffic flow and ac­cess to the in­ter­state and the Betsy Ross Bridge. For more in­form­a­tion, log onto www.95re­vive.com.

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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