In February of this year Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) hosted a gathering of urban planners and transportation experts in Camden, N.J., to look at the bike/ped improvements that have been made in that city and the exciting work being done to better connect Camden with Philadelphia and the region. It was work we had been doing for a number of years, supported by visionary local organizations such the Campbell's Soup Foundationand the Coopers Ferry Partnership.
Sitting in the audience that day were a few key planners from a city to the north, Boston. And they liked what they saw. The coordinated effort of businesses, bike advocates, educators, health professionals, officials and transportation planners in Camden and Philadelphia to create what is being called "The Circuit" raised their hopes for a similar initiative in Boston.
Less than a year later and that work is already underway. Led by the Boston Metropolitan Area Planning Council and the Livable Streets Alliance, RTC's northeast staff has been called in to help replicate the unique collaborative success of The Circuit.
That effort in Boston continues next week with the Metro Boston Regional Trails and Greenway Summit, Dec. 11 and 12, during which RTC staff will provide an update of the future of federal trail policy and funding, and share what other cities are doing across America to advance their trail ambitions.
It's one of RTC's great strengths and what makes us unique in the world of trail building - few other organizations can combine both the on-the-ground technical trail development nous with state and federal planning and funding connections, and long relationships with elected officials and major foundations.
Keep an eye on Boston. We'll keep you updated on the good news coming out of Beantown.