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Schuylkill River Trail Named Nation's Best Urban Trail

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Here is another sign that Philadelphia has an undeniably hip vibe. The Schuylkill River Trail has topped a "USA Today 10 Best Reader's Choice Award."

A panel of experts picked the initial 20-nominees, and then the top 10-winners were determined by popular vote. Philly takes the number one spot for the 'Best Urban Trail in America.'

"It's become an integral part of many people's lives," Sarah Clark Stuart said.

Stuart, Deputy Director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, helped write all of the grants to build out the trail for cyclists, walkers, runners, and bladers.

"They come here to relax, to be contemplative, and they come here to exercise," Stuart added.

The Schuylkill River Trail currently covers 60-miles, including a 26-mile stretch from Philadelphia to Phoenixville. When completed, it's expected to be nearly 130-miles long and a key portion of The Circuit, a planned 750-mile network of bicycle and pedestrian trails.

Perhaps the most iconic portion is the scenic multi-use stretch including the new boardwalk (2,000 foot long concrete structure) from South Street to Locust, and then the trail to Boathouse Row.

At one entrance to the trail, near 25th and Locust Streets, Deputy Mayor Michael DiBerardinis pointed to condos on one side to officer towers on the other side of the Schuylkill.

"Do good urban trails along waterways spur investment and economic development? Look around Schuylkill banks," DiBerardinis said.

Other nominees included Manhattan's Waterfront Greenway, Boston's Rose Kennedy Greenway and Minuteman Trail, Chicago's Lakefront Trail, Griffith Park Trails in Los Angeles, Atlanta's BeltLine and Washington's Mount Vernon Trail, among others.

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