Making It Happen: Mantua Greenway Project Takes Shape
A community-driven project is gaining momentum in West Philadelphia. The Mantua Greenway is a biking and walking trail that will celebrate the Mantua community. It will connect 40th Street and Mantua Avenue to Philadelphia’s regional trail network.
The idea for the Mantua Greenway came from Mantua residents while they were developing a plan for their neighborhood in 2011. Residents organized clean-ups along Mantua Avenue and built local support for transforming the corridor. Community leaders continued this enthusiasm by starting Friends of the Mantua Greenway and holding planning meetings with local stakeholders, funders, and government agencies.
We’re making progress! The 34th Street Gateway, the first phase of the Mantua Greenway, is almost complete. Friends of the Mantua Greenway has gained new partners to help with planning, design, funding, and construction.
Here is a preview of current plans for the Mantua Greenway trail and what to keep an eye out for around the neighborhood!
THE MANTUA GREENWAY PROJECT:
The Mantua Greenway will celebrate the people and culture of the Mantua community, while connecting walkers and bikers in West Philadelphia. The Mantua Greenway will include:
· The Trail: A path connecting walkers and bikers from Mantua Avenue and 34th Street to 40th Street
· 34th Street Gateway: a sign and garden welcoming residents and visitors to Mantua
· Aspen Street Plaza: a garden for relaxing along the trail
· 37th Street Triangle: a space for fitness and performances
· 40th Street & Girard Avenue: a safer, more calm street experience
BENEFITS FOR ALL PHILADELPHIA RESIDENTS:
The Mantua Greenway will help all Philadelphia residents because walkers and bikers will be able to get to places near Girard Avenue, like the Please Touch Museum and the Philadelphia Zoo! The project also helps connect to other trails throughout the region. Many of these trails run along the Schuylkill River, but currently you can’t get to them on a biking or walking trail from Mantua.
The Mantua Greenway is gaining citywide attention. In 2014, the trail was a lower priority. By 2018, the Mantua Greenway was a high priority, ranking 4th out of 23 sidepath projects! (A sidepath is a paved path for biking and walking that runs alongside a street.)
The Mantua Greenway has strong community roots. Friends of the Mantua Greenway leads the project with neighborhood partners, including Mt. Vernon Manor CDC. These organizations helped guide the project from the beginning, inspiring new partners to join. Philadelphia Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC), Philadelphia Department of Commerce, Philadelphia Water Department, and Philadelphia Streets Department are now helping the Mantua Greenway project address funding and city requirements. The project also has state partners, including Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which provide grant funding for the Greenway’s design.
WHAT WE’RE WORKING ON NOW:
This project is an opportunity for PCPC to work alongside neighborhood organizations to help with the design of a community vision. Mantua community members first worked with the National Park Service and Philadelphia University (now Thomas Jefferson University) to create a design concept for the Mantua Greenway. PCPC is now helping with the design and working with engineering firm Whitman, Requardt and Associates, LLP (WRA) to finish engineering construction documents. WRA is refining the project’s remaining designs based on comments from the Departments of Water and Streets.
Residents and visitors will notice construction of the Gateway at northwest corner of Mantua Avenue and 34th Street, which is almost complete.
The Mantua Greenway trail, parks, and recreational areas are still under review by PCPC. The Greenway also needs more funding before trail construction can begin. The project team is working to find grant opportunities to fund this remaining construction.
HOW CAN I GET UPDATES?
· Check out the Mantua Greenway project website
· Sign up to receive Philadelphia2035 emails for the West District, where this project is located.
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· Check the Phila2035 website