As we were making our way back from visiting the glimmering Vagelos Laboratory in University City the other day, we couldn’t help but swing by the Schuylkill River Trail to enjoy some sun next to the water. We worked our way southward, exploring all the way to the newest area, which we first visited back in 2018. Today, as was the case then, the trails ends at Christian Street. But we’re here today to share some exciting work afoot to expand this growing network of Circuit Trails.

View looking west across the river at the Vagelos Laboratory building
A look at the connection to the CHOP campus along the trail
A fence and plenty of construction at the southern end of the trail

Thanks to a huge injection of federal funding several years back, the Christian to Crescent phase of the trail is progressing, and as its name suggests, it will connect the trail from its southern Christian Street terminus to the currently-disconnected Grays Ferry Crescent trail and park. While we couldn’t see much from our view at the end of the trail, this approximately half-mile long addition was recently visited by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, and the progress is extremely encouraging.

My Project
A map shows the area under construction now
A look at the progress thus far, courtesy of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia

The most notable feature of this trail extension – save for the increased connectivity – is the white suspension bridge, which will hold the trail as it makes its way around the active ports along the river.

A rendering shows of the future views from the bridge
Another look at the future suspension bridge

We love seeing this moving forward, creating a connection from Grays Ferry to the rest of the trail. But that’s not all! Schuylkill Crossing, the long-defunct swing bridge, is finally inching towards completion after years of delays. This bridge will link Grays Ferry Crescent to Bartram’s Mile in Southwest Philly, at long last creating a bike/pedestrian connection from SW to Center City.

Schuylkill Crossing
A rendering of Schuylkill Crossing swing bridge, with Grays Ferry Crescent in the foreground

But if you thought that was it, you’d be gladly mistaken. As we touched upon late last year, yet another trail extension received funding from the state. This section is slated to connect 61st Street down to the Passyunk Avenue Bridge, further expanding the navigable areas around the waterfront. It is pretty exciting to envision a day in the not-too-distant future where off-street biking from East Falls all the way into deep Southwest Philly is a reality. Now let’s hope we can also get things started to connect this river to that other one to the east, too.

A rendering of the southern end of the Passyunk Ave. Bridge extension