Pennsauken Cuts Ribbon on Quarter-Mile Cove-to-Bethel Trail Extension


The $1.2-million, grant-funded project features exercise stations, a lighted walking path, and signal crossing for pedestrians.

By Matt Skoufalos | December 13, 2023

Trail improvements in Pennsauken include trash cans and exercise stations. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.

Pennsauken residents, neighbors, and visitors may now enjoy a new public amenity in the form of a quarter-mile walking path running from Cove Road to Bethel Avenue along the Merchantville border.

Repurposed from a defunct section of railway, the pathway features exercise stations, a lighted multi-use path, trash cans with dog waste bags, and an illuminated pedestrian crossing at Chestnut Avenue.

The trailhead comprises a segment of the Burlington-Camden Trail section of the 800-mile Circuit Trails regional network, which connects communities throughout South Jersey and Pennsylvania, and supports walking, biking, and recreation.

The improvements were funded by a $1.2-million New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant, and the work was done by staffers from the township Department of Public Works.

Pennsauken Director of Municipal Services Duke Martz said the application process to secure those funds began nearly a decade ago, in 2014, when “this was nothing but a rail bed with accumulated debris.

“The last train down here was 25 years ago,” Martz said.

Circuit Trails Project Manager Anya Saretzky indicates the Pennsauken trail on the Circuit map (the green line that terminates above Merchantville). Credit: Matt Skoufalos.

Circuit Trails Project Manager Anya Saretzky of the Rails to Trails Conservancy, which advocates for the adaptive reuse of decommissioned railways throughout the country, said the next planned segment of the trail could connect Pennsauken to the remainder of the Circuit Trail network, and eventually, to the Camden City waterfront.

It would convert the abandoned railroad bridge over US-130 into a trail bridge, and then create a half-mile path linking the existing 1.5-mile Merchantville Trail with the Dudley Grange Park Trail.

On the other end, the trail could extend into Maple Shade.

“The next segment to be constructed will extend from the end of the existing trail at Euclid Avenue to 36th Street,” Saretzky said.

“We were thrilled to get the news earlier this year that Pennsauken received construction funding for this segment from the New Jersey Transportation Alternative Set-Aside Program.”

Pennsauken Mayor Vincent Martinez encouraged residents to take advantage of the new walking path and the amenities that line it.

“We hope it’s something you’ll be proud of,” Martinez said. “This area was just a lot of grass and overgrowth, and now look at it; it’s beautiful. It’s an awesome space to come and enjoy family time.”

Trail improvements include an illuminated pedestrian crossing. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.

Councilwoman Nikki Roberts said it’s important for Pennsauken to “continue to develop our outdoor spaces for residents to enjoy.”

“You’re taking a railway that’s no longer being used, and turning it into something the community can use and be safe,” Councilman Marco DiBattista added.

Councilwoman Jessica Rafeh credited Martz and the township public works team with delivering a sparkling refresh to an area in need of improvement.

“Projects of this scale that enhance our community require careful planning, skill, and execution,” Rafeh said. “The Cove Road Trail is now here for our residents to enjoy a community asset.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story mistakenly reported that the next segment of the trail would connect Merchantville and Pennsauken. Both of the next trail segments will be connected in Pennsauken.

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