FAQs


Q. What is the Lawrence Hopewell Trail?
A. The Lawrence Hopewell Trail is a 22+ mile trail winding through Hopewell and Lawrence Townships. It offers safe, off-road access for kids, families, bicyclists, joggers, hikers and commuters who want to enjoy the great outdoors. The family-oriented trail belongs to all of us and is designed to promote recreation, healthier lifestyles, better mobility and commuting, and a cleaner environment. Hundreds of your neighbors support the trail and we hope you will too. The trail is a community asset; we want you and your family to use and enjoy it!

The LHT is made up of your neighbors, community leaders and two major area employers. It started in 2001 when a group of community leaders met at Bristol-Myers Squibb to address concerns about diminishing opportunities for safe, off-road biking and walking. State, county and local government representatives and several private organizations including ETS, joined the group, and an independent nonprofit organization was formed to investigate the possibility of constructing a biking and walking trail. This unique collaboration of government, business, the non-profit sector, and residents developed a strategic plan to construct and maintain the LHT.

Q. What are the main features of the trail?
A. The Lawrence Hopewell Trail is:
• Safe, family-friendly, and handicapped accessible.
• A connection to local businesses, communities and neighborhoods that were previously isolated by heavily trafficked roads.
• Access to taxpayer funded open space that was previously inaccessible.
• A much-needed passive, health and recreation opportunity for children, families, walkers, cyclists, commuters and naturalists.
• A community amenity that will benefit the entire region for decades to come.
• A linchpin for other existing area trails, such as the D & R Canal, the East Coast Greenway as well as shorter local paths, links and connectors.
• A safe, off-road connection to schools and playing fields for children, students and parents.

Q. When will the LHT be completed?
A. At this point, the intended 22+ mile bicycle and pedestrian trail and transportation corridor through public and private land is about 90 percent complete. That said, the LHT Board of Trustees voted this year to begin exploring possible connections with contiguous towns in Mercer County, so who knows where and when our efforts will end. We hope never.

Q. Does the LHT connect to other communities now?
A. The LHT is a key member of the Circuit Trails a 750-mile network of bicycle and pedestrian trails connecting people to jobs, communities, and parks in the Greater Philadelphia Region. It also connects to the D&R Canal towpath running through Mercer County and ultimately from Maine to Florida. Our trail map gives you a good idea of the general route of the LHT.

Q. Who funds the LHT?
A. The Lawrence Hopewell Trail Corporation is a citizen-led, nonprofit organization that depends on the community for support. Our funding comes from grants, donations and minimal fees we charge to participate in a few of our events.

Q. What is involved in constructing the Lawrence Hopewell Trail, and how much does it cost?
A. The current cost to build the Lawrence Hopewell Trail using the American Association of State and Highway and Transportation Officials (ASHTO) standards – a 10-foot wide porous pavement path – is estimated at between $190 and $250 per linear foot, depending on terrain, obstacles, etc. This is the basis for the recent grant application to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission to build a trail through the Mt. Rose Preserve off Carter Road in Hopewell Township. The DVRPC has awarded a $1 million grant to the LHT to construct the one-mile length of trail through the Preserve, a lovely, wooded area laced with wetlands and waterways.

National urban trail construction generally follows the same process as roadway construction. It must be designed, engineered, permitted, constructed, and include related traffic signaling, crosswalks, etc. Typical road building costs range from $2 million to $3 million per mile for a rural undivided road; $5 million for an urban road; up to $11 million per mile for a highway. Trail components include site clearing, grading/earthwork, sedimentation and erosion control, multiple courses of stone sub-base, asphalt paving, planting and seeding.

It should be noted that a 10-foot wide path is more than half the width of most Hopewell Township roadways, and with its porous pavement surface, it enables safe use by walkers and riders. It is also handicapped accessible, thus meeting one of the LHT’s primary goals – to provide a safe, family friendly biking and walking path for all community members to enjoy. In addition, it will be less expensive to maintain than stone dust, upon which storms can wreak havoc and require expensive repairs or leave an area less safe for future use.

Porous pavement is an increasingly common material used in sustainable urban trail building. It is more cost effective, environmentally sensitive, and easier to maintain. Construction begins soil removal, which is replaced with a subsurface reservoir filled with larger stones, topped by one or two layers of porous asphalt. The porous asphalt mix is much like typical asphalt mixtures except that it lacks finer material, allowing water to flow through the pavement and into the subsurface reservoir where it soaks into the ground. This material combines the ability to drain moisture while providing a firm surface for wheeled users. Porous asphalt also saves on maintenance costs by hastening snowmelt and improving drainage, lessening the need for re-coating.

For trail standards and width of trail (10 feet), the LHT follows AASHTO standards, which have been developed to insure both the safety of all pathway users and compliance with the requirements of the ADA for mobility impaired users. The AASHTO design standards form the basis for shared use pathway design standards in most states, counties, and cities throughout the US.

Q. Who can use the trail?
A. Everybody. It is free to use. The LHT is a nonprofit, community-based organization charged with overseeing the development of the trail, and it is open to all bicyclists, skateboarders, joggers and other pedestrians.

Q. Why should I support the trail?
A. In a community of older, narrow or heavily trafficked roads, it is a badly needed community asset. There are three main reasons:

• Recreation and open space access – The Trail will provide an opportunity for recreation, health and fitness as well as access to preserved Open Space lands that we have all paid to protect but have previously been inaccessible.
• Links to neighborhoods for kids and parents – Neighborhoods are cut off by busy or narrow roads that are unsafe for children and parents to bike or walk. The LHT will not only provide recreation opportunities, it also offers a safe, off-road way to travel or commute. Along the route are major area employers, Princeton Pike/Brandywine office complex and the D&R Canal towpath, which can take you to Market Fair or Quaker Bridge Mall, all without going on Route 1.
• Links to communities features and employers – Also planned are links with Hopewell Borough, Pennington Borough and beyond.

In addition, trails are also known to raise property values since they are considered a desirable public amenity and can reduce traffic congestion. We know from other communities that have built similar trails that they contribute to an increase in property values.

Q. Are motorcycles or golf carts allowed on the trail?
A. No. Except for emergency vehicles, the off-road parts of the trail are not designed to safely accommodate motorized traffic. But it is handicapped accessible.

Q. What about pets?
A. Absolutely! All we ask is that you respect others and keep your animal leashed and curbed. Please clean up any waste.

Q. How can I support the trail?
A. You can:
• Promote LHT – Talk us up with family and friends
• Plan LHT – Contact us with ideas
• Support LHT – Donate money or services
• Advocate LHT – Tell elected officials you support LHT
• Enjoy LHT – Use the Trail and encourage others to do so

Q. How do I contact the trail?
A. In addition to visiting our website, you can email us at info@lhtrail.org.

August 2017