Skip to main content

2017 sees new interest and new promise for the Pike2Bike Trail

There's new energy in the campaign to convert the 8.5 mile stretch of the abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike into a multi-use bike trail.  These recent developments has spurned renewed interest in the project with local governments, businesses and the Governor's office in Harrisburg.

In a reply to my recent blog entry on the seemingly stagnant efforts to convert the 8.5 miles of abandoned turnpike to a bike trail, Bedford County Planning Director, Donald Schwartz, shared with me some new and updated information on the status of the plan.  Earlier this year, the engineering firm, Navarro & Wright, was awarded the bid to update the master plan.  Once the work is completed and the plan is revised; the still unresolved issue of ownership of the trail remains.  Schwartz sees that it is still likely that a joint operation between Fulton and Bedford Counties will be overseeing the trail.

The ownership of the trail is key as that will allow the Pike2Bike Trail to go forward in design and overall funding.  There appears to be interest within Governor Wolf's office in Harrisburg as various state agencies including the Department of Transportation and Conservation and Natural Resources toured the trail in 2016.  Representatives of the Governors office are expected to ride along the old turnpike in July 2017.  With the cost of the project at a minimum $3.28 million - as per the 2014 Fourth Economy study - there will need to be revenue streams from the state.

In the meantime, there has been activity to increase the visibility of the project and also keep and maintain the highway.  There is a new website, Pike2Bike.com.  There is also now a facebook page with updates about gatherings, cleanup events and overall progress.  The Pike2Bike group has also partnered with REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) and their Bedford distribution center to do annual cleanups.  The first was held in 2016 and this year's is planned for September 19.  REI's presence in the region may help with the corporate sponsorship and leadership that was not in the area during the early attempts to kickstart the project 15 years ago.

April 2017 Subaru Rally at site of Cove Valley Service Plaza. (Image Courtesy Don Schwartz)

Finally, the Pike2Bike organization is working with various groups to host events on the abandoned turnpike with proceeds from these events to go towards the overall project.  This past weekend (June 25, 2017) a rally of Subaru Enthusiasts took place at the site of the former Cove Valley Travel Plaza.  One was also held earlier this year in April.  Most interestingly, the Pike2Bike team has partnered with Trivium Racing to organize a half and full marathon along the abandoned turnpike on October 29, 2017.  The Apocalypse themed race will require runners to run though the former turnpike's tunnels!

This project has genuine interest and support from various communities and interest groups.  The life breathed into the project by Don Schwartz and the Pike2Bike organization seems to have finally brought interest, visibility, leadership and more importantly momentum to this once stalled project.

Site Navigation:


Sources:
  • Schwartz, Donald. "Pike2Bike Comment." Personal E-mail. June 23, 2017.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The story on how the unbuilt US 40 Expressway in Brownsville took 40 years to complete.

For nearly four decades, the four lane US 40 just east of Brownsville came to an abrupt end - shown in the photo above - at Grindstone Road in Redstone Township.   In the late 1960s, what was then the Pennsylvania Division of Highways (PennDOH) extended a new four lane alignment of US 40 eastwards from Broadway Street slightly over one mile to Grindstone Road where an incomplete diamond interchange was built.  Earlier in the decade, PennDOH had built a four lane US 40 in Washington County into Brownsville complete with a new crossing over the Monongahela River known as the Lane Bane Bridge.  This new highway and bridge allowed US 40 to bypass the older Intercounty Bridge and downtown Brownsville. 

After this new highway opened, nothing would happen to it for nearly forty years.  US 40 traffic would use the ramps for this planned diamond interchange and then jog on Grindstone Road briefly before continuing towards Uniontown on the original National Road. 
What is unknown (at least to…

The story of the Boy Scout Ramps on Interstate 79 North in NW Pennsylvania

If you are traveling on Interstate 79 North of Pittsburgh, you may notice the remnants of a set of off and on ramps at mile 100 just north of Exit 99 (US 422).  There's a story behind these ramps.  Forty years ago, these ramps were built specifically for two Boy Scout Jamboree's that were held at Moraine State Park - 1973 and 1977.  The ramps purpose were to provide access to the north shore of Lake Arthur where the bulk of the festivities and campsite for the Jamboree were located.  (Lawrence County Memories has a great write up and map of the festivities on its site.)

Not long after the Jamboree ended the ramps were abandoned.  There are still remnants of the Boy Scout Ramps today.



Above: Sattelite view of the Boy Scout Jamboree Ramps. 
Below: A view of the ramps from I-79 South.



The google street view image above gives a view along West Park Road of where the set of ramps intersected the highway.  The ramps provided direct access to North Shore Drive (which is the right tur…

The few clues of the Northern Durham Parkway

Sometimes when you look through a box of maps for the first time in five years, you come across something you may have easily over looked.  Such was the case when I found a 2004 (so rather recent) map of Raleigh.  This map was made by the Dolph Map Company for WakeMed.  In the Northwestern corner of Wake County, there were two items to the map showing roads that are still not in existence 13 years later.

The road is the Northern Durham Parkway - this is a proposed 19 mile highway from US 501 north of Durham to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.  The first proposals for this highway date back to 1967 when Eno Drive-Gorman Road was listed on the Durham Area Thoroughfare Plan. (1)  Other proposals called the highway the Northwest and Northeast Durham Loop. (2)  The route would serve as a northern and eastern bypass of Durham almost serving as a near loop.  The route was fought vigorously for three decades by the Eno River Association citing concerns for the the Eno River, nearby n…