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Published on June 10, 2024
Delaware County Nets $90M for Circuit Trails Expansion to Boost Walkability and Environmental HealthSource: County of Delaware, PA

Big bucks are on the horizon for Delaware County's walkways and bikeways, as local officials announce a hefty $90M of federal dough aimed at expanding the Circuit Trail. Delaware County Council Chair Dr. Monica Taylor and Council Member Elaine Paul Schaefer were pumped to share the news with the Circuit Trails Coalition last weekend during the annual Bike Rodeo at Eyre Works Park in Chester, an event that not only gets kids on bikes but also drums up conversation about the necessary federal investment to bridge trail gaps in the county.

The vision for the trails is clear — chop down emissions, take a swing at climate change and make it less of a headache to navigate the county on foot or two wheels, and the proposed chunk of change, which includes a specific earmark for the Route 291 Trail/East Coast Greenway in Chester, and with this route being a stash of industrial vitality, it could morph into a safer, more inviting gateway for Chester, as well a hub for job creation, new enterprise, and everyday citizens just trying to go about their lives, although the current road situation is a bit of a mess, putting a damper on walkability and cycling, not to mention the health and safety of residents. “This project is vital to our community,” Council Member Elaine Paul Schaefer told a publication, talking up how the boost to circuit trails will make moving around on foot or bike a whole lot safer and prime the pump for business growth along this busy corridor.

Residents along 291 are smack dab in an area flagged for environmental justice concerns, according to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission's Indicators of Potential Disadvantage — think large numbers of residents with special needs, tighter wallets, and a diverse population — these are the realities for many along this industrial vein, and they're realities that Delaware County isn't shying away from.