Schuylkill River Trail: Phoenixville-Mont Clare Connector Feasibility Study Open House

Posted by Shayne Trimbell June 13, 2013

On Wednesday, June 12, 2013 the public was invited to Phoenixville Borough Hall to see plans and share ideas for improving the Schuylkill River Trail from Mont Clare to Phoenixville.  The open house was part of the Schuylkill River Trail – Phoenixville-Mont Clare Connector Feasibility Study which is looking at the feasibility and design options for constructing a dedicated bike trail on the Route 29 bridge which crosses the Schuylkill River at Mont Clare and Phoenixville.  The study is being managed by GVF with Michael Baker Jr., Inc. as the study consultant and Campbell Thomas & Co. as a sub-consultant to Michael Baker Jr., Inc.  The $50,000 study is funded through the Regional Trails Council Phase II trail grants.

The current crossing from Phoenixville to Mont Clare is less than desirable and hardly accommodating to casual trail users.  The two lane bridge carries Route 29 and offers little more than a five foot wide sidewalk and a five foot wide shoulder on the southbound side; the northbound lane has a 1 foot shoulder and no sidewalk.  The Schuylkill River Trail is routed over the bridge from Mont Clare where it continues under a dark railroad overpass before entering Phoenixville Borough and meets up with the trail segments through the Phoenix Iron and Steel site.  The feasibility study presents options for formalizing the connection through realigning the traffic lanes on the bridge and constructing a ten foot wide, barrier separated multi-use trail.  Improved lighting and a railing is proposed for the railroad underpass.

The public had an opportunity to view the plans and speak with the planning team during the open house, which was held from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM in the Phoenixville Borough Hall.  During the two hour meeting, residents steadily filled the room and were generally delighted to see the plans presented before them.  Comments were overly positive and optimistic for the plan.  Most people were excited to see that plans were being made to improve the crossing.  No opposition was presented by the crowd, and very few concerns were expressed; most of the concerns related to the construction and how access would be maintained for pedestrians and bicyclists.  No formal presentation was made, but rather planners were available to speak with attendees to answer questions.

The input received during the open house will be incorporated into the final report, which should be available by the end of August.  Once the feasibility study is complete, GVF will continue this effort by working with the stakeholders to identify funding opportunities and pursue money for design and construction.  Initial estimates anticipate design and construction to cost $1 million.  To stay informed about this project, please contact Shayne to be added to the project information email list.