Chester County's Schuylkill River Trail Expansion Boosts Trail Usage
This past Spring, local officials celebrated the opening of the final stretch of the Schuylkill River Trail in Chester County during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Earth Day (April 22). This $6-million, 4-mile paved extension of the trail, filled one of the only gaps remaining in the 60-mile section of trail between Reading and Philadelphia. The project also included paving of a 6-mile section of the trail between Phoenixville and Parker Ford. With its two new trailheads, this project has expanded access to the trail, which is evident in recent trail usage data.
Trail usage on the Schuylkill River Trail in Chester County has soared since the opening of this new section. A comparison of monthly trail counts between 2021 and 2022 revealed an increase of between 125% and 250% in trail usage.
With the project now complete, the trail is continuous in Chester County from the Route 29 Bridge in Mont Clare (Montgomery County) north to the Route 422 Bridge at Pottstown along the Schuylkill River for a total of nearly 12 miles. The trail remains closed on the bridge over 422 until a small section of trail is completed in Pottstown by Montgomery County, which is in progress.
The Schuylkill River Trail is part of the Circuit — the Greater Philadelphia region's network of interconnected multiuse trails. Circuit Trails serve as the "trunk lines" of the trail network to which other local trails can connect. The more interconnected this network becomes, the more viable it will be as a transportation network, particularly with the rise in popularity of eBikes.
In service of expanding interconnectivity, the Chester County Planning Commission is embarking on a county-wide master plan for trails. The plan intends to identify a desired network within the county and the priority trail segments and connections within that network, and to develop resources for municipalities for building out the network. For more information about this initiative, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.