The “Chester Creek Branch” Rail-Trail project will provide many benefits to Delaware County residents. It will preserve valuable green space along the Chester Creek, while allowing easy access to this precious biological reserve. The trail will provide a viable alternative to auto commuting, linking multiple land uses, employment areas, and mass transit, to alternative modes of transportation. Further, it would be ideal for many recreational uses, such as bicycling, walking, running, cross country skiing and access to the Chester Creek for fishing.
Trails similar to the Chester Creek Branch have been shown to be a catalyst for tourism and economic development, creating and maintaining new business opportunities. A 1992 Study demonstrated trail users spend $3.97 – $11.02 in the local community each time they are on the trail. Based on these figures, Friends estimates a possible economic impact of between $107,865 to $591,664 (1992 Dollars) to local businesses from the Chester Creek Branch trail. Property values along the trail also increase as recreational trails are considered a valuable quality of life amenity to the housing stock.
The Chester Creek Branch trail, when complete, would provide multimodal transportation connectivity for its users. It would provide greater access to SEPTA bus routes 116 and 119, as well as the R3 regional rail extension to Wawa Station. The Chester Creek Branch would connect many existing recreational trails to its north and east including the Linvilla, Indian Orchards, Darlington, and Rocky Run Trails (which would tie in Tyler Arboretum and Ridley Creek State Park) as well as the East Coast Greenway to its south.
Health Benefits of Rail-Trails
A report from the U.S. Surgeon General – “Physical Activity and Health” (1996) demonstrated there is a direct link between the level of a person’s physical activity and health. Increased exercise such as walking, jogging, and bicycling was shown to delay or prevent disease, thus improving a person’s quality of life. This report indicated that to improve access to safe physical activity, communities had to provide more trails for its citizens