Sustainability - Implementing Landscapes2

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Chester County Trail Update

Trail development and planning has grown over the past ten years. Trails have become more popular than ever providing not only recreational uses but also as key commuter routes. With gas prices at an all time high, trail development could play a major role in the way the people travel in Chester County.

Limited pedestrian and biking facilities such as sidewalks and trails have made us dependent on the automobile for access to recreation. To help lead our nation toward healthy eating and active living, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that municipalities build or enhance infrastructures to support more walking and bicycling.

trailCounty-wide Trail Inventory

Planning staff completed an update to the County-wide Trail Inventory in early 2012. The Trail Inventory is an accurate and comprehensive trail catalog of publicly accessible trails within Chester County. The inventory was created to assist municipalities in trail planning and tracking. Alignments included in the inventory are based on adopted municipal plans and studies, as well as additional input from land trusts, conservancies, other County departments and all 73 municipalities.

The update process was streamlined with the creation of the interactive map, allowing municipal and trail stakeholders to edit trail alignments and attributes online. When the first inventory was completed in 2009, the data had been used for a variety of planning projects including trail mapping, multi-municipal trail planning, comprehensive plan updates, and regional planning. By using the interactive map municipalities and trail stakeholder are free to view other trail alignments of other municipalities, which in turn can further assist in trail planning efforts and further develop the a county-wide trail network.

The public will be able to access the inventory via the County's Community Profiles showing key information about trails that are open to the public. Also available to the public is an Existing Surfaced Trails Map, which includes 276 miles of improved surfaced trails that are open to the public in 55 Chester County municipalities.

County Regional Trails

In addition to the County-wide Trail Inventory, Chester County is responsible for planning, designing, constructing, and maintaining several regional trails, including the Chester Valley Trail, Schuylkill River Trail, and Struble Trail. Current information about each trail is provided below.

Multi-Modal Transportation Plans & Studies

Given the interest in trail planning, the Chester County Planning Commission developed a Trail & Path Planning Guide in 2007. Beyond the County's efforts, several municipalities and other groups have completed and adopted multi-modal plans with in the last 10 years. Below is a list of several examples of bicycle, pedestrian, and trail plans completed or underway within Chester County.