At a time when the Chester Valley Trail is experiencing higher use levels than ever, a key part of the trail’s extension project opened Wednesday.
The Chester County Commissioners joined State Senator Andy Dinniman, West Whiteland township supervisors and other partners to cut the ribbon at the intersection of Route 100 and Commerce Drive in Exton, where a pedestrian pathway now connects the Chester Valley Trail to the Exton Train Station. Improvements also make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists, including eight new ADA curb ramps, a new crosswalk between the southeast and southwest intersection corners, upgrades to the existing pedestrian signal and crossing signage, and high-visibility crosswalks throughout the intersection.
Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Marian Moskowitz said, “The Chester Valley Trail has come to be known as a commuter trail, and this extension to and from the train station opens up many more possibilities for commuters, including those who can now travel on the train to work in retail businesses, restaurants and hotels here in West Whiteland Township.”
“Chester County is committed to increasing mobility options for people, is committed to reducing congestion on our roadways, and is committed to developing trail links that benefit the business and retail community. This Chester Valley Trail extension is a perfect example of that commitment,” said Chester County Commissioner Josh Maxwell.
Called the Chester County Rt. 100 Crossing Improvement Project, it was partially funded by a grant from the PennDOT Automated Red Light Enforcement (ARLE) Program. Additional funding comes from the Regional Trails Program, administered by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission with funding from the William Penn Foundation. Funding for the West Whiteland Township Multi-Use Path Project is provided by a Pa DCED Multi-modal Grant, developer contributions, and the West Whiteland Township Transportation Fund.
County Commissioner Michelle Kichline noted, “Trail extensions like this require a lot of planning, not just for the logistics of the project, but also to focus on the safety of everyone using the trail. The changes made across the Route 100 portion of the extension stitch together a connection that keeps everyone who is walking and cycling on the trail safe as they navigate this busy crossing.”
Last year’s Return on Environment Report, released by Chester County, proved the economic value of trails, noting that the Chester Valley Trail is estimated to increase the value of every home close to the Trail by over $20,000.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the value of Chester County’s trail system not just in monetary terms, but also recreation. Compared to April of 2019, trail use was up in April of this year by 65% on the Chester Valley Trail, and up by 83% on the Schuylkill River Trail