DCPD wrote and County Council, on May 12, 2009, adopted the Delaware County Bicycle Plan. It identifies how the engineering of roads, provision of bicycle facilities, education of road users, and enforcement of road rules can be improved to encourage bicycling. Public comments were requested in 2005, and DCPD staff made several presentations to local governing bodies and planning commissions to hear comments. In September 2007, the Delaware County Planning Commission recommended that Delaware County Council adopt the plan.
Since 1994, the County has been assisting with the creation of the Chester Creek Rail-Trail. This proposal would convert the inactive Chester Creek Branch rail line into a biking and hiking trail from Wawa to Upland. The Friends of the Chester Creek Branch, a nonprofit organization, has been working to achieve this objective. A feasibility study was completed in 2005 that established the legal and financial feasibility of the trail, assessed the demand for and potential use of the trail, compiled a physical inventory and assessment of the right-of-way, developed a trail concept plan, and made recommendations for trail operation, maintenance, and security. In 2005, SEPTA leased to the County its railroad right-of-way for Phase I of the trail, from Lenni Road to Chester Creek Road in Middletown and Aston Townships. The County then leased the right-of-way to the Friends, so that they could begin to develop the trail. Engineering of this phase of the trail began in 2007 and is being done by a team led by Wilson Group, P.C. of Mechanicsburg. Engineering should be completed in 2013, with construction occurring shortly thereafter. For the latest on this project, visit the Friends of the Chester Creek Branch website.
The Planning Department was a member of PennDOT’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Bicycle Issues Task Force for many years, before PennDOT disbanded it in 2007. More recently, staff has met with Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and PennDOT District staff periodically to discuss bicycle issues. Because DCPD staff and representatives from the other southeastern Pennsylvania counties requested it, the PennDOT District office agreed to stripe the edge lines of selected state roads when they are resurfaced in a manner that is more sensitive to bicycling. On excessively wide lanes, the edge line will be placed to provide a wider shoulder area for bicycling. This work began in 2008. PennDOT staff has since decided to restrict the number of resurfacing projects that are subject to this agreement.
Staff has been working with the East Coast Greenway Alliance (ECGA) to map out a route for the Greenway through Delaware County. The Greenway will be a continuous, paved, mainly off-road, bicycle route from Maine to Florida connecting major urban areas. The ECGA has chosen for the Delaware County section of its route on- and off-road portions of Route 13 and Route 291 between the Delaware State line and Essington. DCPD supports municipal funding requests to beautify this corridor and construct a multi-use pathway. Portions of the East Coast Greenway through Marcus Hook, Chester, and Tinicum have received Transportation Enhancement grants. The portion of the Greenway through Trainer received Delaware County Revitalization Program funds. DCPD completed the Darby Creek Bridge Feasibility Study, which recommended reserving a portion of the road surface on the Route 291 bridge over Darby Creek for a multi-use path; PennDOT agreed to construct this facility when the bridge is repaired in 2011-2013. In 2012, the Trainer Borough portion of the ECG (bicycle lanes) was completed.
DCPD, with the assistance of Menke & Menke and Kise, Straw & Kolodner consultants, completed the Delaware County Industrial Heritage Parkway, Route 291/13 Beautification and Greenway Plan in 2002. This report makes recommendations for beautifying the corridor and constructing a multi-use path along Route 291 from the Philadelphia line to Trainer (portions of Front Street in Chester) and Route 13 from Route 291 to the Delaware State line. Landscaping, directional and interpretive signing, and banners and murals are some of the strategies to make this corridor more attractive. The multi-use path will carry the East Coast Greenway through Delaware County. The County, municipalities, property owners, PennDOT, and the East Coast Greenway Alliance will be working toward implementing the report’s recommendations.
DCPD staff applied successfully on behalf of the County for state funds to study the feasibility of the section of the Greenway between Flower Street in Chester City and Darby Creek. The East Coast Greenway Trail Feasibility Study was completed in 2009 by a consulting team led by Ray Ott and Associates of West Chester and recommended a routing along the south side of Route 291 in Chester and in the right-of-way of inactive Conrail tracks between Morton Avenue in Chester and Stewart Avenue in Ridley Township. The County applied for DVRPC Regional Trails Program funding in December 2011 to undertake a title search of the inactive Conrail tracks in this area. This application was approved and in 2013, DCPD will hire a firm to determine the ownership and property boundaries for this proposed rail trail.
In addition, the County participated in DVRPC’s Bicycle Facilities on Existing Roadways project. It identified two roadway corridors for bicycle-friendly improvements in Delaware County: (1) Route 252 from Route 3 (West Chester Pike) to Route 320 and Route 320 from Route 252 to Chester City and (2) “Bicyclists’ Baltimore Pike” from Nether Providence Township to the Philadelphia City line. The latter route uses Rose Valley Road, Yale Avenue, Franklin Avenue, Providence Road, Baily Road, and Longacre Boulevard. PennDOT completed signing and striping of “Bicyclists’ Baltimore Pike” in December 2010.