Friday, November 23, 2012
The Circuit Coalition is a collaboration of non-profit organizations, foundations, and agencies working to advance completion of a connected network of trails – The Circuit – in the Greater Philadelphia region.
The Circuit Coalition's goal is to raise the profile of bicycle/pedestrian trails and their public benefits so that building The Circuit becomes a significant regional priority.
When we connect the 750 miles of The Circuit, Greater Philadelphia will have a trail network unlike any other in the country -- connecting the urban, suburban and rural communities of the fifth largest metropolitan region in the US. The Circuit will make our region stronger by providing a place for healthy transportation and recreation, connecting our communities to green space, and making our neighborhoods more attractive places to live and work.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
We've discussed trail benefits relating to real property values, resident expenditures, commercial benefits, tourism and, finally, benefits relating to health. All of these benefits have been measured, codified, and have been the subject of many articles and studies. One final benefit I’d like to review here though, has not been talked about that much but may be, in the final analysis, the most important of all: a path to a greater sense of community.
Being connected to other people in our community is more and more difficult and unlikely in these days of being insulated by cars, gated communities and busier and busier schedules. Between the hectic pace of our lives and our increased mobility, it can be difficult for communities to come together in any meaningful way; in other words, there is no ordinary way to meet, greet and “commune” with ones neighbors. Yet being connected to our neighbors can make us feel happier, safer and even healthier. It can also lead to better functioning governments and schools.
Trails can be the viable solution to bringing together people who are living disparate lives. As people spend more time on a nearby trail, they meet neighbors, discover shared interests and make new friends. New clubs form to enjoy or care for the trail. Employees of businesses near trails have the chance to spend a lunch break walking together, ultimately improving teamwork.
Many have suggested that having a greater sense of community can be one of the solutions to many of modern society’s ills. Trails can lead us to that greater sense of community.