Philadelphia has officially opened the Fairmount Water Works Trail and Boardwalk, a new, pedestrian-friendly network of trails that offer stunning views of some of Philadelphia’s most iconic landmarks. Designed by OLIN, the boardwalk and trails are the last of several renovations to Fairmount Water Works, which once provided the city with fresh water. In addition to providing new pedestrian walkways, trails, and a 380-foot bridge, the project has improved the conditions for resident wildlife.
The Lighting Practice designed the lighting system for the new pedestrian paths, the landscape and hardscape features, and the new bridge that leads to a nearby island. Illuminated by concealed LED waterproof strip lighting, the boardwalk crosses from the riverbank to the island, now a nature trail and bird habitat. From that vantage point, visitors can see Fairmount Dam, Boathouse Row, the Schuylkill Expressway and more. TLP also lit the pedestrian paths and landscape and hardscape features in the garden and circle in the main area.
Abandoned in the early 20th century, Fairmount Water Works had fallen into ruin before renovations began to take place. Today, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell called the new trail and boardwalk “Philadelphia’s most beautiful new public space.”
New boardwalk on Schuylkill overlooks Water Works, Boathouse Row
Philly.com | October 2018
Philadelphia officials dedicated a new boardwalk and trail on the Schuylkill River on Tuesday, a $4.2 million project that just over an island to offer an elevated view of the nearby Fairmount Water Works, the Art Museum, and Boathouse Row.
Known as the Fairmount Water Works Trail and Boardwalk, it includes a pedestrian bridge as well as improved wetlands conditions for more than 200 turtles. The new segment marks the last leg of a series of renovation projects in the Water Works area. The updated trail and new 380-foot boardwalk connect to the section of the Schuylkill River Trail that winds 10 miles through the city.
Construction fencing, which had obscured the view of the river since January 2017, is now down. The ground-level trail was recently reopened, and the boardwalk was already being used by runners and walkers Tuesday.
The trail measures 520 feet from Lloyd Hall to the Fairmount Water Works. The small, elevated boardwalk crosses from the riverbank to an island and loops back, offering a new perspective of Fairmount Dam, Boathouse Row, the Schuylkill Expressway, and even passing trains. A trio of benches offer seating along two sections of the boardwalk made of steel and weather-resistant black locust trees.