Haws Avenue and Chain Street Trailhead Improvements
Montgomery County is working with a design consultant to develop plans for improving two trailheads along the Schuylkill River Trail (SRT) in the southwestern neighborhood of Norristown – one is located at the foot of Haws Avenue and the other at the foot of Chain Street (see map above). These trailhead improvements were identified and conceptually developed as recommendations in the 2020 Montgomery County Trail Access, Diversity, and Awareness Plan (refer to Background Documents below).
The primary purpose of this project is to create community amenities for residents that will safely link neighborhoods to the SRT, the regional Circuit Trails network, Riverfront Park, and other local and regional amenities. These new community spaces will create inviting, welcoming, barrier-free access to the SRT for users of all abilities.
Beyond providing benefits to the directly adjacent community, the trailhead improvements will also result in advantages for the larger trail community. The improvements will provide places to sit and rest, meet a friend, trash/recycling receptacles, and beautification of the spaces. Additionally, the trailheads will serve as a gateway into Norristown with the help of maps and signage indicating points of interest such as the Norristown Farm Park, the Elmwood Park Zoo, and local businesses.
The design consultant team, led by NV5 and joined by ACLAMO, will carry out the following primary tasks:
- Facilitate community and stakeholder engagement and partnership in the design process.
- Obtain necessary site control/permission and permits.
- Prepare schematic and design development drawings.
- Prepare final construction documents and bid package.
Public Participation and Meetings
We look forward to hearing your ideas and suggestions as the project comes to life! Public input and involvement is a key aspect to the success of these trailhead improvements. If you would like to stay up-to-date on the project, and/or pass along your suggestions, please fill out our online comment form.
- A presentation about the project was provided to the Norristown Municipal Council at their council work session held on January 16, 2024.
- Door-to-door surveys in the neighboring vicinity of the trailheads are currently being conducted.
- A focus group meeting with local stakeholders will be held in January or February 2024 to gain additional input. Representatives from educational, community services, religious, arts-focused, and business entities will attend. Please let us know if you have not been contacted and are interested in participating.
- As the project unfolds, information regarding future meetings and pop-up events will be posted here. Please watch this space - or even better, sign up for our interested parties list!
Design services work began in October 2023 with stakeholder interviews and initial public engagement. Schematic design will follow and eventually lead to the completion of construction documents by the end of 2024.
The design services work now underway is being funded jointly by a $90,000 grant from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s Regional Trails Program together with additional county capital funds. The county is actively seeking funds for construction.
- Montgomery County Trail Access, Diversity, & Awareness Plan (2020). This plan was completed to better understand the challenges hindering the equitable use of the county’s trails and develop recommendations to address these challenges. Stakeholder engagement conducted during development of the plan, revealed that despite a major regional trail running through their city, many Norristown residents were either unaware of its existence or felt that it wasn’t for them – that it was only for “serious” athletes. These trailhead improvements were identified in the plan as opportunities and will be an important step towards implementing recommendations outlined in the plan.
- Ride along with Bill Hartman, MCPC Trails & Open Space Manager, as he takes you on a bicycle tour of various areas in Norristown where opportunities exist to enhance safety, accessibility, and awareness of the Montco’s Schuylkill River Trail and provide public spaces to everyone in the community. Along the tour, he shares illustrations of an area’s current conditions and the concepts in the plan that can enhance the area. This video was developed as part of an April 29, 2021 webinar highlighting the Montgomery County Trail Access, Diversity, & Awareness Plan.