John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge Technical Assistance
Philadelphia’s John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is America’s first urban refuge, established to preserve, restore, and develop the natural area known as Tinicum Marsh. Since 2019, the Volpe Center has been working collaboratively with refuge staff and community partners in southwest Philadelphia to improve transportation connections and access to the refuge and other outdoor opportunities in the community.
Throughout summer 2019, Volpe Center staff conducted site visits to meet with refuge staff and engage with community stakeholders. As a result of these site visits and input received from community stakeholders, the Volpe Center developed two plans targeted at reducing transportation barriers to access the refuge:
- A wayfinding and signage plan outlining detailed recommendations to make navigating to and within the refuge easier and more intuitive for new visitors to the refuge; and
- A community shuttle service plan to provide shuttle service to the refuge on select days to southwest Philadelphia residents, building upon two prior pilot efforts undertaken by the refuge.
In 2020, the Volpe Center continued its technical assistance remotely during the COVID-19 public health emergency, working collaboratively with refuge staff to:
- Design a shuttle wrap to brand the community shuttle with a design reflective of both the refuge’s natural characteristics and scenes of the southwest Philadelphia community;
- Acquire additional bike racks to install throughout the refuge to enhance bicycle access and biking opportunities; and
- Continue preliminary planning activities for future possible multimodal trail connections to the refuge from neighboring communities and transit stops.
As of 2021, the Volpe Center continues to provide ongoing technical assistance on transportation-related initiatives at the refuge.