Walking, running and biking around the greater Doylestown area could get much easier, if several local municipalities link their bike and hike trails, as recommended by a state study.
New Britain Borough Council on Tuesday approved the study that recommends linking existing and planned trails in five Central Bucks municipalities to Peace Valley Park.
The council voted unanimously to approve the “Feasibility Study for the Destination Peace Valley Trail."
Doylestown and New Britain townships and New Britain, Doylestown and Chalfont boroughs commissioned the study, which was funded in part by a $17,500 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and in-kind donations. Read the full study here.
Council member Mary Pat Holewinski said approval by all five municipalities would better enable them to apply for and obtain additional grants for engineering studies and trail construction.
“This isn’t agreeing to pay any money. This is merely accepting the study,” Council President Dave Donahue said before the vote.
“The planning study was undertaken to advance the development of the Destination Peace Valley trail, which will connect the 1,500 acres of bucolic, natural open space areas, Nature Center and 14 miles of nature trails at Peace Valley Park to the existing 15-mile-long Doylestown Community Bike and Hike system, as well as the planned Tri-municipal trail network in New Britain Township, New Britain Borough and Chalfont,” says a portion of the study’s introduction.
“They looked at ways to connect the pieces,” Holewinski said after the meeting. “The borough likes the idea.”
New Britain would be linked by connecting the end of the existing path on Iron Hill Road through the Pine Run Reservoir to Covered Bridge Park. The path would cross Pine Run Creek and connect to the path on Old Iron Hill, crossing Ferry Road and continuing into Peace Valley Park.
A Chapman Road link would connect the path on Meetinghouse Road near Sandy Ridge Road to Pine Run Road. From there, it would run along Chapman Road, crossing Ferry Road to South Chapman Road and into Peace Valley Park.
Preliminary cost estimates for the option that would link the Bike and Hike path on Old Iron Hill Road to the gravel road at the Pine Run Reservoir and Covered Bridge Park on Keeley Avenue are nearly $1.5 million. Estimates for the Chapman Road link from the path on Meetinghouse Road near Sandy Ridge Road are approximately $500,000.
The study recommends creating the connections in phases, due to the size and expense of the project – and the fact that some rights of way would have to be acquired.
The recommended list in order of priority, according to the study is as follows:
1) Iron Hill Road through the Pine Run Reservoir to Covered Bridge Park, including bridge and connection to existing trail at Longwood Circle
2) Pavement marking improvements on Chapman Road from Pine Run Road to Ferry Road
3) Old Iron Hill Road from Ferry Road to Creek Road
4) Side Path along Ferry Road to South Chapman Road; overlay of South Chapman Road
5) Shared use path from Meetinghouse Road to Chapman Road
The study also recommends widening the existing path at Peace Valley Park from its current 8-to-10 feet to 12-to-14 feet.