Philadelphia, October 20, 2011 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Montgomery County Commissioners Jim Matthews and Joe Hoeffel, and Lower Merion Commissioners Elizabeth S. Rogan and Brian Gordon met for a ceremonial “Handshake Across the River” on the Manayunk Bridge to officially launch a project that will link the communities via a recreational trail across the Schuylkill River. The Manayunk Bridge will use a bike and pedestrian trial to connect the Ivy Ridge Trail in Philadelphia with the Cynwyd Heritage Trail in Lower Merion.
“The Manayunk Bridge serves as a bright example of regional partners and community groups collaborating to achieve something great,” said Mayor Nutter. “I am excited for this project because it strengthens the connection between Philadelphia and Montgomery counties, encourages exercise and recreation, and enables all residents to enjoy the beautiful landscape that we share.”
When finished, a walking and bicycling trail across the iconic Manayunk Bridge will connect Lower Merion Township’s recently completed Cynwyd Heritage Trail with Dupont and High Streets in Manayunk. From there, it’s just a short walk to the shops and restaurants of historic downtown Manayunk.
“When the Mayor first talked about establishing the Metropolitan Caucus, we were looking for ways to partner with our neighbors and this project was one of the first to come up,” Chairman Matthews said. “I’m thrilled to see it finally get underway. It will be an absolutely gorgeous gateway between our communities.”
“Today we shake hands in a ceremonial fashion, but it symbolizes how the Township, Montgomery County and the City of Philadelphia have collaborated to fulfill a vision that, as individual entities, we couldn’t have accomplished,” Board President Rogan said.
This landmark project is only possible through a truly cooperative effort. In addition to the City, County and Township, partners include SEPTA, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, Manayunk Development Corporation, the William Penn Foundation, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
“SEPTA is pleased to be involved in a partnership that can create a new use for an old, transit and iconic asset within the region,” said Joseph M. Casey, General Manager of SEPTA, which owns the bridge.
Future phases will extend the trail to the Ivy Ridge Station and beyond, eventually connecting to the Schuylkill River Trail at Shawmont Avenue.
About the Metropolitan Caucus
The Metropolitan Caucus is composed of a group of elected leaders from Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. Established in March of 2009, the Metropolitan Caucus focuses on issues of common interest among the five counties.