The South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization (SJTPO) is working with Atlantic County to identify a feasibility route for a 16-mile gap in South Jersey’s trail network between the planned Camden County Link Trail and the existing Atlantic County Bikeway. Completing this connection would advance a regional trail network in South Jersey by providing a continuous, off-road, multi-use trail from Philadelphia to Egg Harbor Township for all ages and abilities.

Purpose of Feasibility Study

This study’s objective is to determine a feasible route for an off-road trail connection between the planned eastern terminus of the Camden County Link Trail in Winslow Township, just west of the Atlantic County border, and the existing western terminus of the Atlantic County Bikeway at Route 40 near Mays Landing. The new Atlantic County Bikeway West will help provide a seamless transition across the 16-mile gap separating these trails.

Welcome to Virtual Meeting #1!

The first public meeting for this project is being held in an online format due to changing conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Continue reading below to learn about the study’s process, progress, potential trail alignments, next steps, and ways to get involved and provide feedback. You can also watch a narrated video overview of the project by clicking the button below.

Camden County Link

A planned 33-mile multi-use trail slated to travel through Camden County and connect a variety of recreational, commercial, and residential areas. A feasibility study was completed in 2017 and sections of the trail are currently being designed.

Atlantic County Bikeway

An existing 7.5-mile long shared use path maintained by the Atlantic County Park System. The trail runs between Harbor Square in Egg Harbor Township and the Atlantic County Institute of Technology in Hamilton Township. Amenities include three parking areas and a pedestrian-actuated traffic signal at English Creek Avenue.

How Does This Project Relate to Previous and Ongoing Trail Projects in the Study Area?

Several previous studies and planning efforts are informing this current effort including:

Developed by SJTPO, the South Jersey Trails Design Guide provides a framework for a comprehensive trails network in South Jersey similar to the Philadelphia region’s Circuit Trail network. The Atlantic County Bikeway West was identified as a priority trail segment in the design guide. The Cross Camden County Trail Study recommends a proposed trail alignment through Camden County, along with a supporting economic impact analysis and trail concept plan.

Why Invest in Trail Projects?

Transportation Benefits

  • Increased mobility
  • Increased safety
Environmental Benefits 

  • Reduction in emissions & energy use
  • Preservation/restoration of ecosystems
Economic Benefits

  • Increased tourism/retail revenue
  • Construction spending
Social Benefits

  • Improved mobility for lower income groups
  • Increased social interaction
Health Benefits

  • Increased active transportation – less obesity
  • Reduced risk of heart/cardiovascular disease

What Will the Trail Look Like?

The proposed Atlantic County Bikeway West will be a multi-use trail that can be considered a shared use path, sidepath, or some combination of the two. Both shared use paths and sidepaths offer bi-directional travel for cyclists and pedestrians on a paved surface with an absolute minimum width of 8 feet and a preferred minimum of 10 feet. The main difference between the two facility types is determined by how they are separated from traffic. Shared use paths are often located in parks, open space, or forested areas with complete separation from nearby roads, while sidepaths are located adjacent to roadways. Buffer areas between a sidepath and roadway can vary from as little as two feet to much greater widths, depending on available right-of-way and other constraints.

Example of a Shared Use Path Example of a Sidepath

Who Might Use the Trail?

The trail will be open to all interested users ranging from local community members to those visiting from outside the region. To provide real-life examples of expected trail uses, a series of “trail user profiles” were developed. The profiles are not intended to encompass every possible trail user, but to assist with the evaluation of trail alignments.  Three profiles were developed:

Local Recreational User
Regional Recreational User
Commuting/Functional User

How Were Potential Trail Alignments Determined?

Project mapping was gathered from several sources and includes points of interest, zoning, land use, existing bike and pedestrian facilities, and natural features and hazards. Together, these variables help identity demand for the trail as well as opportunities and constraints along the corridors under consideration.

Additional criteria used to select and evaluate trail alignments include:

  • Right-of-way availability
  • Separation from traffic
  • Conflict points between trail users and vehicles
  • Proximity to population centers, amenities, and bicycle/pedestrian connections
  • Environmental constraints
  • Maintenance, security, and emergency access

What Routes/Alignments Were Selected for Consideration?

The existing conditions analysis – along with input from SJTPO, Atlantic County, and the Steering Advisory Committee – led to the identification of three potential trail alignments:

  • ACE/NJ 50 Alignment
  • US 322/Weymouth Road Alignment
  • NJ 54/Rail Corridor Alignment

Each of these alignments would connect the planned terminus of the Camden County Link to the existing Atlantic County Bikeway. The three alignments overlap in Mays Landing, with several potential routing options being considered near the existing trail terminus. Initial review of the alternatives by the project team led to the ACE/NJ 50 alignment being dismissed as unable to meet the project’s goals.

ACE/NJ 50 Alignment

This alignment would run adjacent to Route 54 as a sidepath, transition to a utility corridor running parallel to the south side of the Atlantic City Expressway, and then run as a sidepath adjacent to Route 50 into Mays Landing.  This alignment was dismissed due to:

  • Lack of available right-of-way along Route 50
  • Difficulty in crossing the interchange with Route 322
  • Potential impacts through the MakePeace Wildlife Management Area
  • The trail’s isolation from population centers and amenities

US 322/Weymouth Alignment

This alignment would run adjacent to Route 322 as a sidepath before traveling southeast along Weymouth Road, signed as County Route 559, into Mays Landing. Existing and potential future conditions along the US 322/Weymouth Road corridors are shown in the images below, followed by a description of opportunities and constraints.

Opportunities

  • More direct route
  • Many access points along route; easier security and maintenance access

Issues

  • Limited right-of-way along US 322 and Weymouth Road
  • Less separation from traffic; may be directly adjacent to roadway shoulder
  • Numerous conflict points between drivers and trail users at driveways
  • More isolated from population centers

NJ 54/Rail Corridor Alignment

This alignment would run south as a sidepath within the wide Route 54 right-of-way. Near the intersection with Route 40, the trail would turn and run east along an unused rail right-of-way paralleling Route 40. This shared use path segment would continue east through Mizpah, intersecting with several side streets before continuing off-road into Mays Landing.

Existing and potential future conditions along the NJ 54/Rail Corridor alignment are shown in the images below, followed by a description of opportunities and constraints.

Opportunities

  • Wide/available right-of-way along Route 54
  • High degree of separation from traffic, particularly along the rail corridor
  • Proximity to population centers and bicycle/pedestrian connections

Issues

  • Less direct route
  • Fewer potential access points for maintenance/security along rail corridor portion

How to Get Involved?

The comment period for the first public meeting closed Friday, July 9, 2021. As the project moves forward, there will be additional ways to stay involved. The anticipated schedule for this project is show below: