Sunday, January 10, 2010

at least some kind of bike trail is being built

If I keep waiting for the Chester Valley Trail to be completed, most likely I will be dead and buried. 20 years and they finally get a few miles contracted out, yippee!!!

Whereas Delaware is starting an ambitious bike lane along rt 52 from rt 1 to Wilmington. Holy car rage Batman, an actual bike lane in the state of PA that is not in the inner city limits.

This would be a nice ride for the citizens of PA and DE. Delaware has indeed kept the shoulders wide and clear on the DE side of rt 52. PA has not done such a great job.

But here is a detailed article from the Daily Local News.

KENNETT — With $925,000 in grants in hand, a scenic bikeway along Route 52 (Kennett Pike) from Route 1 to Wilmington, Del., could be a reality soon.

Plans to make Kennett Pike safe and useful for bicyclists have been in the works for four years. Bicyclists who use Route 52 currently take their chances with motor vehicles zooming past them.

Improvements officials say are needed include removing foliage engulfing much of the road's shoulders, rebuilding the shoulders, enhancing drainage and creating rest stops.

"If the engineering contract is approved soon, construction work would likely begin in the fall. From there, completion would be six months to a year away," said John Haedrich, a project co-leader and member of the township's planning commission.

About 90 years ago, Pierre Samuel du Pont, DuPont executive and developer of Longwood Gardens, purchased the Wilmington and Kennett Turnpike Co. and re

built the road. He then deeded it over to Delaware and Pennsylvania as the Kennett Pike. Since then, because the du Pont families own so much of the road frontage, commercial development of the Pike has been limited.

Delaware has maintained its 5-mile section of the pike so that it retains wide shoulders and adequate right of way for bicycles and pedestrians.

But the 2.8-mile stretch of Kennett Pike from the Pennsylvania state line to Route 1 has seen its shoulders deteriorate and the adjacent landscaping become overgrown in many places, making it dangerous and unfit for bicyclers and pedestrians, planners say.

Recognizing the value of a safe bikeway connecting Wilmington to Longwood Gardens, and from there to other scenic bikeways in Chester County, representatives of the pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Delaware Regional Planning Commission began meeting in August 2005 to discuss grant applications for funding to improve Kennett Pike.

Their efforts resulted in the formation of a 45-member steering committee, which eventually broke into smaller working groups to plan and develop the new bikeway's concept.

A consultant for the committee, Urban Engineers, issued the planning committee's final report in October 2009. The report detailed the working group's 2008 discussions of data collection, analysis and concept development. This work led to the committee's primary report: the "Preferred Bikeway Concept" for Kennett Pike.

According to the report, creating the bikeway will involve reconstructing Kennett Pike's existing shoulders to create a minimum 5-foot-wide bicycle lane on both sides of the road.

"This is the most costly aspect of the plan, estimated at about $726,000," Haedrich said.

The concept also calls for appropriate striping, signage and pavement markings in both directions.

In addition, drainage improvements and significant landscaping work along Route 52 will be necessary. Better drainage is needed to ensure that the bicycle lanes remain clear of debris. This will involve regrading and cleaning adjacent swales along on both sides of Kennett Pike and possibly reworking existing drainage pipe as necessary.

Immediate landscaping will include removing brush and other vegetation that extends into the bike lanes.

A more detailed landscape plan and total cost estimates will be done during the final design phase.

Most of the funding for the bikeway project will come from the federal government, but Kennett is also providing significant assistance. Of the total grant amount of about $925,000, 80 percent will come from the Federal Highway Administration, 15 percent from the township and 5 percent from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Regarding the funding, Haedrich said, "Some uncertainty still exists — even though our FHWA grant is fully approved — because of today's economy and everyone's need for funding."

Haedrich also noted the bikeway project is tied to another project — the relocation of Route 52 near Longwood.

"We need the final design of that project so that we know what it looks like in the Hamorton area at Route 1," Haedrich said. "We need to know about crosswalks and how bikes will safely cross Route 1 from Kennett Pike."

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