Completing East Coast Greenway would mean more than $3 billion benefit for Greater Philadelphia

photo cred srdc schuylkill banks
Children enjoying the Greenway along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia (Schuylkill Banks Development Corporation photo)

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Completing the East Coast Greenway in the Delaware River Watershed would generate an impact of more than $3 billion in public health, environmental and economic benefits for greater Philadelphia, according to a new study unveiled today at the inaugural Mid-Atlantic Greenways & Trails Summit at the University of Pennsylvania.

The study was conducted by consulting firms NV5 and Econsult Solutions, Inc., on behalf of the East Coast Greenway Alliance, a nonprofit leading the development of a walking and biking route stretching 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida.

According to the study, competing the East Coast Greenway in the Delaware River Watershed will provide:

  • 175 miles of multi-use trail for recreation and active transportation

  • $840 million in annual tourism benefits ($4.8 million/mile in local economic impact)

  • $2.2 billion in one-time economic benefits

The East Coast Greenway is currently nearly 40 percent complete in the Delaware River Watershed.

The entire report, which includes extensive data on the transportation and safety, economic, health and environmental benefits of the East Coast Greenway, is available for download at Also featured in the report are Philadelphia-area case studies on the Jack A. Markell Trail, Bristol Borough and the Riverfront North Partnership.

“Completing the East Coast Greenway in the Delaware River Watershed is an investment in the future of greater Philadelphia, and this report projects a more than ten-fold return in benefits to the local community,” says Dennis Markatos-Soriano, East Coast Greenway Alliance executive director. “We see the Greenway becoming the most popular park in America in the next decade and view Philadelphia as one of the top destinations for global tourists and regional residents alike.”

“Trails are a vital element in connecting people and place in meaningful ways. Of particular interest to the Foundation, they connect neighborhoods with their local waterways and parks for enjoyment,” said Andrew Johnson, Watershed Protection Program Director at the William Penn Foundation. “We are proud to collaborate with other key partners in bringing the vision of the East Coast Greenway to life, which is a major segment of this region’s local Circuit Trails network.”

This report was produced with the support of the William Penn Foundation and GSK.

Protecting the Delaware River Watershed is one of the William Penn Foundation’s three grantmaking programs. In this context, the Foundation supports trail and greenway development and programming to grow environmental stewardship of the watershed through the increased access to waterways.

GSK’s mission is to help people do more, feel better, and live longer. The East Coast Greenway Alliance’s partnership with GSK allows us to offer active events that promote healthy living.

About East Coast Greenway Alliance The non-profit East Coast Greenway Alliance leads the development of a walking and biking route stretching 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida. The East Coast Greenway is designed to transform the 15 states and 450 communities it connects through active and healthy lifestyles, sustainable transportation, community engagement, climate resilience, active tourism, and more. Learn more:

About NV5 NV5 is a multi-disciplinary provider of professional and technical consulting services, offering solutions for public and private infrastructure, real estate, and the environment. NV5 brings multimodal planning and design expertise and a comprehensive approach to bicycle and pedestrian projects, focusing on transportation facilities that promote safe, transit-friendly, walkable, and bikable places. NV5 has planned and designed hundreds of miles of trails, greenways, and on-road bicycle facilities while also achieving parallel objectives in areas such as green stormwater infrastructure and placemaking. Our interdisciplinary staff are avid hikers, runners, and recreational and commuting bicyclists and actively serve as members of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, East Coast Greenway Alliance, and on other local and regional bicycle and pedestrian committees.

About Econsult Econsult Solutions, Inc. provides businesses and public policy makers with economic consulting services in urban economics, real estate economics, transportation, public infrastructure, development, public policy and finance, community and neighborhood development, planning, as well as litigation support. ESI assists clients in the evaluation of economic and fiscal outcomes of programs and developments, offers city and regional planning insight and advice, provides GIS analytic services, yields financial projections and advises investors and governments on projects, developments, and policy outcomes, and has the economic skills and expertise to process, analyze and manage large and complex datasets.

Together, let's grow the Greenway

Recent record-setting funding for design and construction goes directly to building the East Coast Greenway - as it should. The East Coast Greenway Alliance needs your support to continue our advocacy work that is fueling completion of the Greenway. The Alliance has a sustained track record of turning every dollar donated to our nonprofit into $100 in public infrastructure investment. Invest today and support the growth of the East Coast Greenway from Maine to Florida.