WALKWORKS GRANT – The city’s application for funds from the state’s WalkWorks program could launch into an excellent opportunity for a community-wide discussion about how young people, older adults, people with limited means, people with accessibility limitations, visitors, and just about anyone can move around better within our city, make use of our parks, sidewalks, storefront businesses, and public meeting spaces, and experience better health. The application was for funds to pay a transportation planning consultant to meet with focus groups of local citizens to develop a plan to improve accessibility and bike-ability, as well as walkability and use of public transit here in our little city.
The plan could recommend things like adding a sidewalk on the south-bound lane of Rt.88 at the Pigeon Creek Bridge, or adding sharrows (arrows reminding people to “share the road”) to encourage bicyclists to use Railroad Street, or open a discussion about how we can make better use of our city parks by improving the alternatives that young people and families have in getting to them. A major topic might be how to make West Main Street more user-friendly to pedestrians despite the huge daily vehicular count (the current PennDOT map says 9,500 vehicles per day – about the second highest of any two-lane road in the eastern part of Washington County).
Rumor is that we submitted one of the stronger applications to receive funding in this round and engage in this process in the upcoming year. We should hear by the end of August whether the award is being made for our City to be one of the grant recipients in this round or not.