Grays Ferry Crescent

Project type
Trail & Greenway
Completed June 2012
anglers fish on the Grays Ferry Crescent Esplanade

Project Description

The Grays Ferry Crescent Trail segment wraps around the east side of the Schuylkill from 34th Street to Wharton Street behind the former DuPont Marshall Labs, a Waste Management facility, and a FedEx distribution center. It is currently disconnected from other Schuylkill Banks trail segments. Access points to this trail segment are located at the 34th Street Bridge, Grays Ferry Avenue & 36th Street, and Wharton Street & Schuylkill Avenue.

Grays Ferry Crescent was dedicated on June 11, 2012. It is a popular destination among near neighbors, who use the space primarily as a riverfront park – for evening and weekend walks, dog walking, children’s play space, picnicking, and especially fishing. It is a very tranquil spot, and attracts anglers and birders from across the region. 

The land now occupied by the Crescent had been used for a variety of industrial and chemical purposes for more than a century, so it was necessary to remediate this area to meet DEP standards before creating an extension of the Schuylkill Banks trail and greenway along this corridor. SRDC undertook remediation of the Grays Ferry Crescent (then referred to as the DuPont Crescent) in fall 2008. Remediation work included removing and disposing of hazardous soil and paving, general clearing and grubbing, and placing new fill soil, topsoil and grass seed to prevent erosion.

The construction of a greenway along the Grays Ferry Crescent trail segment provided long-awaited access to the river for neighborhoods in South and Southwest Philadelphia. The project provided 4,036 feet of bicycle and pedestrian trail and access routes, plus several walking trails totaling another 2,171 feet. Lawn areas allow casual activities such as picnicking, throwing a Frisbee or playing catch. Meadows of native grasses and wildflowers provide a natural beauty to the area while absorbing stormwater runoff. New amenities along the greenway provide fishing and viewing opportunities. Benches, lighting, and trash receptacles, along with a utility building were also installed to ensure proper maintenance of the greenway. 

Project Team

Design: Urban Engineers, Inc.

Landscape Design: Simone Collins Landscape Architects

Remediation Design: Pennoni Associates

Remediation Work: React Environmental Professional Services Group

Funding: FHWA, PA DCED, PA DCNR, DVRPC, the William Penn Foundation and the City of Philadelphia

east (South Philadelphia) side of the Schuylkill River between 34th Street and Wharton Street