The City of Trenton should develop, design, and construct the missing segments to complete a Comprehensive Capital City Regional Trail Network in partnership with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), Mercer County, the Delaware and Raritan (D&R) Canal Commission, the D&R Greenway Land Trust, and adjacent municipalities. This network will include the Assunpink Creek Greenway, the Delaware Canal Towpath, the Downtown Wellness Loop, the Trenton to Princeton Rail Trail, the Delaware and Bound Brook Rail Trail, sections of the Delaware River Heritage Trail, East Coast Greenway, and any necessary on-road connections. The approach to the Calhoun Street Bridge must improve bicycle and pedestrian connectivity along this critical portion of the East Coast Greenway.
Trails along the D&R Canal make up a large portion of the City’s trail network. The East Coast Greenway enters the city from the north along the D&R Canal. At Battle Monument, the D&R Canal Trail connects to the Belvidere Greenway, and both continue west to the City’s Cadwalder Park and further to Lambertville. At the south end of the City, an additional portion of the D&R Canal connects trail users to Bordentown. Trenton’s Delaware River and Assunpink Creek waterways have historically defined the City and should be reestablished as major connection paths in the City. There are portions of the Delaware River Heritage Trail along the river, and Mill Hill Park has pathways along the Assunpink Creek. Further north, additional parks along the Assunpink Creek serve residents of North Trenton, although the parks are quite disconnected.
The City’s trail networks are not integrated into a unified and comprehensive system. Between Battle Monument and Calhoun Street, the D&R Canal Path is narrow, unpaved, and poorly marked. Trail markings and crosswalks should be installed at all roadway crossings. The Belvidere Greenway provides a direct connection between Cadwalader Park and Battle Monument, but it could be improved with better lighting and trail maintenance. Along the Delaware River, NJ Route 29 blocks Trentonians from the waterfront, and interferes with the completion of the Delaware River Heritage Trail.
In addition to helping the City meet its multi-modal goals, an enhanced greenway and trail system will help residents of the City gain active lifestyles and access to natural environments. These greenways and trails can combine utility and amenity in the form of storm-mitigating wetland parks and/or green infrastructure opportunities. As such, efforts to establish connections through greenways and trails must be coordinated with efforts to buffer the threats of flooding. As part of its implementation initiative, the City must establish a policy of prioritizing infrastructure improvements that connect residents to the natural environment. Projects such as the Waterfront Reclamation and Redevelopment Project and Assunpink Creek Greenway and Park Plan show the potential of major combined utility and amenity projects.
A map of the proposed bike network is provided below