Public Meeting Set for Bicycle-Pedestrian Plan

A second public meeting will gather community feedback on suggested bicycle and walking routes through the city and some adjacent areas will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 17 at Bottle Works Arts on Third Avenue.

The Johnstown Urban Connectivity Plan is being developed by the Cambria County Conservation and Recreation Authority to identify the best options for bringing the September 11th National Memorial Trail and the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal Greenway through Johnstown. These routes will end up intersecting in the downtown area. They will provide safe and attractive ways for local residents to walk and bicycle between neighborhoods and out into wooded areas such as the existing Path of the Flood and Jim Mayer trails.

Trails for Days

About 40 people came to the first public meeting, held May 9, to offer suggestions for walking and bicycling routes. In the upcoming meeting, suggestions from the first meeting, along with other options, will be shown on maps and people will be able to provide feedback on which options they think would work best. 

The Sept. 11th National Memorial Trail connects the former World Trade Center site in New York City, the Pentagon near Washington, DC, and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County.

Who is on the Job?

The authority is developing the plan with grants from the state Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. They hired Laird Recreation and Land Planning of Roaring Spring as the prime consultant on the plan, which will also address streetscapes and identify ways to calm traffic in the hopes of reducing conflicts with commercial and industrial traffic. This will help make these nationally significant trails attractive, safe and functional.

The Sept. 11th National Memorial Trail connects the former World Trade Center site in New York City, the Pentagon near Washington, DC, and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. Between Flight 93 and New York, it will come through Johnstown, providing a great opportunity to attract visitors who will stay overnight and spend money in the community.

The Main Line Canal Greenway is being developed to connect Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and part of the Greenway. The same route will be used from Johnstown through Hollidaysburg. The Urban Connectivity Plan will include using the existing trails, the Path of the Flood Trail, Jim Mayer Riverwalk Trail, and the Cambria Iron Trail that connects the downtown to Cambria City. The Main Line Greenway will go through Johnstown’s West End and Conemaugh Gap.

Biking Benefits

In addition to providing a major economic boost through tourism, these trail connections will make the city a far better place to walk and bicycle. Not only providing alternative means of transportation, but encouraging residents to adopt more active and healthy lifestyles. The recommended in-town routes are taking into consideration their mutually beneficial impact on the economic development of both new and historic structures. 

Measures are also being recommended to make these selected streets very pedestrian and bicycle friendly, and“continuously interesting.”

Making Connections

These trails will also connect to local transportation resources – the mass-transit bus terminal, the historic Amtrak passenger-rail station, and the historic Inclined Plane. In addition, they’ll link to parks, open spaces, four National Historic Districts, cultural heritage, and other community assets that also support tourism.  Johnstown’s trail network will connect three National Parks within a 30-mile radius — the Flight 93 National Memorial, the Johnstown Flood National Memorial, and the Allegheny-Portage Railroad National Historic Site, which includes Staple Bend Tunnel, America’s oldest railroad tunnel, through which the Path of the Flood and Main Line trails pass.

This planning project will also look at the feasibility of connecting the Path of the Flood at Mineral Point with the Ghost Town Trail in Nanty Glo.

In addition to serving as the prime contractor on the Johnstown Urban Connectivity Plan, Laird Recreation is a subcontractor to Campbell-Thomas & Co., a Philadelphia planning and architecture firm. They are currently investigating the best and most feasible options to connect the Flight 93 Memorial to Johnstown. Other subcontractors of Laird Recreation include FisherWorks Consulting of Somerset and CDI-Kimball Engineering of Ebensburg.

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