Should anyone be surprised that someone came up with the crazy inspiration of a route between these two Philadelphia news-making sites in this crazy election month?
It started out as a disorganized run for charity between Four Seasons Total Landscaping, the site of that Rudy Giuliani press conference in a gritty industrial section of northeastern Philadelphia, and the glamorous Four Seasons Hotel in Center City (the place you know they really wanted, or at least the guy at the top wanted). They called it the Fraud Street Run, a riff on Philly’s Broad Street Run.
You can download someone’s route on Ride With GPS or try this:
We had our own variation, but doing it in both directions exposed us to different trails (and trails under development) along the Philadelphia waterfront. One day this will be an amazing place to bike. Even by 2025 (or maybe 2026?), it should be so, so much better.
So what did we see?
We started in South Philly and headed to Columbus Boulevard, where a trail is under construction.
It’s now further along, but it still abruptly ends in some spots. I’m betting on a ribbon-cutting in the spring.
Then we biked through Penn’s Landing Marina and past the USS Becuna, a submarine that saw action in the Pacific during World War II, and an ice-skating rink. (The Independence Seaport Museum may be worth a visit on a non-bike day.)
Keep going, but now you better like industrial landscapes, be on the lookout for glass and be able to cope with some hairy sections.
After a short stretch in a bike lane, we were at a casino. A trail goes around it by the water to Penn Treaty Park. It was then back to the road so we could reach Graffiti Park. This former arcade-style coal loading dock was once owned by the Reading Company, a railroad that went bust in 1976. Conrail formally shut it down in 1991, though it sounds like it really hadn’t been used for a decade before then. The concrete is crumbling in spots but that doesn’t stop people from visiting, whether to add some art or, as we saw, take some portraits and swing on the swing. There was even a group doing some socially distanced (and masked) singing. Oh, and someone (or more than one) is living in on of the upper levels.
The plan is for this to become a park. But what form? How structurally sound is the structure? Will people still be able to paint it? Just wait for the study…
More road, then the 2-mile Port Richmond/Bridesburg Trail along North Delaware Avenue. Does this sign look familiar? Unfortunately, I’m not seeing it as part of the current routing on the East Coast Greenway’s map. The trail, though, takes you under the Betsy Ross Bridge until the road ends at Orthodox Street.
Promises of more:
Phase II of the Delaware Avenue extension (with sidepath) is supposed to start in 2021 as another step in this giant I-95 rebuild, according to Riverfront North. PennDOT says it won’t start until late 2022 and will continue into 2025. (Look for the BS5 section for info.) Hopefully that schedule doesn’t get pushed back even more. You know the cost of the trail is a rounding error in this complex I-95 project. At least it’s part of it.
The great thing is this new section will connect to another trail: the K&T Trail. We biked it on the way back from Four Seasons Total Landscaping — until it ends at a fence and a derelict bridge.
Lovely signs, though:
This trail is supposed to extend from the current end point (we didn’t get there) another 0.6 miles to Princeton Avenue and the Tacony Boat Launch, less than a mile from Four Seasons Total Landscaping. We picked it up at Lardner’s Point Park, on the Center City side of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, and enjoyed it for about a mile.
Riverfront North says construction on this next section was to start in 2020, but I am guessing that didn’t happen. Let’s hope for groundbreaking in 2021. Completion too.
You could always detour to Four Seasons Total Landscape, where they have capitalized on their 15 minutes of fame with humor (and even chatted with us and handed out stickers).
All this will one day be part of the East Coast Greenway route from Morrisville, Pa., (opposite Trenton) to Philadelphia. There would still be gaps that have no timeline, but that’s the way it is with trail construction.
The next section going north, the Tacony-Holmesburg Trail to Pennypack on the Delaware Park, is in design phase, according to Riverfront North. (The park is one end of the delightful Pennypack Trail.)
Imagine if construction was completed at the same time as the Delaware Avenue extension project — so 2026? That’s a blink of an eye for trail construction.
You’d then be able to bike on trail — no cars — from Pleasant Hill Park (not too far from Philadelphia city limits) along a sidepath on State Road to the still-secret Baxter Trail (now only open on weekends in June, July and August plus the Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend — maybe the Philadelphia Police will be more chill about their shooting range given the high wall they’ve built?) through Pennypack Park on the Delaware and then along everything I’ve just described to General Pulaski Park. That’s almost nine miles by car or bike today.
Then it truly might be nicer to bike between Trenton and Philadelphia on the Pennsylvania side. There’s already that wonderful stretch of the D&L Trail between Morrisville and Bristol. But for now, I’m siding with the New Jersey option.