Planners zero in on priorities for Quakertown trails
Top priorities for further study have now emerged for the master plan for Quakertown Region Trails.
“We are targeting the end of 2013 for delivery of the master plan,” John P. Brunner said after a Sept. 30 meeting in Richland. At the meeting were 29 planners, who included representatives from municipalities and the county as well as trail advocates and residents.
Brunner, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) mid-Atlantic recreation planner, hasbeen leading the project since last spring, with Campbell Thomas & Co. of Philadelphia serving as AMC’s consultant on the project.
A new regional north-south trail that has emerged so far envisions linking the Saucon Rail Trail in Coopersburg, Quakertown town center, Quakertown swamp, and the Sellersville-Perkasie-East Rockhill Bicycle/Walking Path System.
A new east-west trail would link Nockamixon State Park, Quakertown town center, andUnami Creek Valley. A second new east-west alignment stays primarily in rural and forested areas.
“While all the proposed trail routes are still on the table, there is now a consensus that top priorities for further study are extending the Saucon Rail Trail into Bucks County toconnect to Quakertown; investigating potential connection between Quakertown and Nockamixon State Park; and closing the gap in the existing trails near Trumbauersville Elementary School, near the border between Milford and Richland Townships, and the Brayden Gardens and Toll Gate Landing communities,” Brunner noted.
“A rough estimate of costs shows that investments in trail development can be achieved through various funding programs, including private foundation and state greenways/parks programs, as well as in-kind contributions in construction and materials,” he continued.
“This is a long-term project that will take time to plan and implement, but it’s important to create the vision for a coherent, achievable plan, and then build awareness and community support.”
The plan is conceived as part of the Pennsylvania Highlands Trail Network. While an inventory of existing conditions had noted that great progress had already been accomplished in the area in the form of new preserves, trails, and path corridors, the vision features connecting a network of new and existing trails for walking and bicycling with parks, schools, ball fields, housing developments, shopping areas, town centers, and open space.
An example of a need for a new essential footpath is a connection between a housing development and a supermarket, which is presently being accomplished by a shopping-cart-supported, makeshift bridge over a creek, as an alternative to walking along a highway without room for holding shopping bags in each hand, or driving far out of the way to get there and back.
Potential new pathways also include providing more opportunities for children to walk to school, and for teachers to commute by bicycle.
“That kind of new pathways can help combat child obesity, while getting them outside more often and helping them be more independent, and decreasing needs to drive them around,” Campbell Thomas partner Robert P. Thomas, AIA, said, while an attendee added that “grades go up when children walk to school.”
“For commuters,” Thomas added, “we can easily see the possibility for creating a new two-mile regular trip by bicycle that would take less time than driving the same two-mile trip. Similarly, SEPTA is very interested in helping additional passengers get to stations where the parking lots are already full early in the rush hour.”
For more information contact John Brunner of the Appalachian Mountain Club at 610-868-6906, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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