Etna trail extension

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Eric
Member
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I think I read something in the trib last week about extending the North shore trail from Millvale to Etna. This would be great for us Fox Chapel area folks. Could take Freeport->main St to Etna and then hop on the trail. No more rocky railroad route or Highland Park Bridge/Butler st.

Any idea what the time line is for this?

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Eric
Member
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Sorry. It was a post gaette article. Looking back on Google there have been articles since about 2008 touting this plan, and they have gotten grants in the past, so any idea if this is the REAL starting time?


gg
Member
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Here are two sources of information. I hope this happens asap, but no doubt will take time because the RR doesn’t exactly like residents in their space. Lets face it the RR hates people in general.

http://friendsoftheriverfront.org


stefb
Participant
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Speaking of, just curious about how far you can go. I have always ridden to the 62nd street bridge, gotten off, taken the main road through sharpsburg, and then hopped on the HPB. Can you go down to the HPB on the same RR ballast? If so, is it obvious where to exit to get to the bridge?


Eric
Member
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I can see some trail ish stuff while on Freeport by Ryan’s auto glass but I haven’t explored. Although ive been on the river by the public boat access in Sharpsburg and there is nothing but woods and a dirt path that only goes a few streets. So you can’t go between 62nd St bridge and hpb as far as I can tell. Although I can’t accont for the railroad at that point. May need to Google maps it.


Eric
Member
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Pretty sure there is a wall separating Aspinwall riverfront park from the old scrapyard they bought and want to develop. But I could be wrong.


Benzo
Participant
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There is a chainlink fence separating the park and riverfront 47. No solid wall.


Eric
Member
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Main Street in Sharpsburg isn’t bad, much preferable to any rock laden route by the tracks.


stefb
Participant
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I disagree. I would rather deal with rocks than getting buzzed and forced into the door zone.


alleghenian
Member
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The idea is to eventually connect to the Freeport/Butler Trail in Freeport and the Armstrong Trail in Ford City but who knows how many decades that will take. It’s a shame because if you look at the map at eriepittsburghtrail.org, the biggest gap is between Millvale and Ford City, and this is probably the part that would get the most usage if it existed. I believe the Pgh > Freeport section is part of the plan for the “Rough Diamond Trail” going toward the Kiski River as well.


gg
Member
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Stefb stated: “I disagree. I would rather deal with rocks than getting buzzed and forced into the door zone.”

I agree. I want to be off the road anymore. People are too messed up from the Internet and hype. Best to just stay away and try to get to your destination without dealing with people in weapons of mass destruction. Enjoy.


paulheckbert
Moderator
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Friends of the Riverfront (FOR) has been working on trail planning between Millvale and Freeport. This work has not been highly visible, but it is moving forward, slowly.

I don’t know details, but Jeff McCauley of FOR told me a few months ago that he has been working with town officials in Brackenridge, for example, on bike planning. Also, FOR is in negotiation with Norfolk Southern. Getting cooperation from the railroad company would be very helpful, because much of the route is quite close to the RR tracks, I think, and several crossings of the RR tracks are contemplated.


Eric
Member
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Thanks!


alleghenian
Member
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Topping this thread… I saw on the ‘Walk Bike Shaler’ facebook page today that Etna plans to break ground on the Etna Riverfront Park later this year, and it should be complete some time in 2019.  (This will be right next to the 62nd Street Bridge.)


zzwergel
Member
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What does “Potential trail connection” mean?


alleghenian
Member
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Just a guess, but it’s probably just that the design company that made this blueprint can only speak for the area within the borders of the park.  The “potential trail connection” on the right would depend on Sharpsburg putting a trail there, and the one on the left would depend on…. Shaler Township, I guess? to pave the already-well-worn pathway between there and the Millvale Riverfront Park.


zzwergel
Member
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I once attempted to go through there. An approaching train scared the $#!: out of me.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Trains are very large, very loud, and very predictable. The “trail” is at least 30 feet from the tracks for most of that mile or two between Millvale and Etna, often dozens more. Not a concern.


zzwergel
Member
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It is very bumpy too.


Benzo
Participant
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I think that developing a usable trail surface would definitely be doable. They would probably lay down crushed asphault as is pretty standard in rail-trail corridors (though if it got heavy use they could do a tar and chip application like they did further south on the north shore trail between the north shore and millvale.

I’m guessing that it would require a fence to separate train traffic and trail traffic as the trail between southside and homestead does due to the rail company’s concern about liability in a high population corridor. They don’t want folks walking on / close to their tracks because people occasionally get hit by trains. I was surprised to read about how the doppler effect can make it hard to hear an approaching train. https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/infrastructure/a3134/how-trains-can-be-silent-killers-16627219/


dfiler
Member
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A surprisingly high number of pedestrians are killed by trains every year. I can attest to some trains being inaudible until they’re already upon you. Multiple times I’ve been 10 feet from tracks and not heard an oncoming train. By the time I heard and looked up, they have already passed.

Personally I’m ok with everyone taking responsibility for where they walk. But the railroads, they see things differently. It’s cheaper for them to build fences and fight at-grade crossings than to be subject to lawsuits when pedestrians are hit.


JRS
Member
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I emailed FOTR a few days ago about the trail extension from Millvale to Etna. I thought after Etna won the right-of-way next to the 62nd St. Bridge, that the development was supposed to start this year sometime, but haven’t really seen much going on. Here was their response:

“The Etna riverfront park is tentative to begin this fall. However, this is not the full connection between Millvale and Etna unfortunately. Discussions are still in progress regarding this section with the railroad and the county. We do not have a timeline regarding development. This section is of great importance to the development of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail and also the larger corridor of the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail so we are working diligently on it. ”

Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but I’m trying to stay optimistic & patient. I know these projects always take WAY longer than predicted. Does anyone have any other info about the trail connection?

  • This reply was modified 11 months, 2 weeks ago by  JRS.

alleghenian
Member
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About a mile that stretch is in Shaler township, so if Etna builds their park/trail to the Etna border, it won’t connect to Millvale until Shaler does their part.

The good news is that the Shaler portion of the dirt path from Millvale to Etna is already relatively smooth. It is when you get closer to Etna that it gets pretty bumpy with lots of gravel and potholes.


erok
Keymaster
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Ground breaking event:

 

Please join us in our celebration of the construction of Phase 1 of the Etna Riverfront Trail and Park Project!

Monday, June 3 at 10 am at the site!

We anticipate about an hour- as we want to recognize the many who helped us get to this point! Lots of shovels! And then the contractor moves in to begin!!!! This phase is anticipated to be complete near the end of September. Phase II is in design and engineering as we speak! We anticipate that phase will be complete by summer of 2020! So 2020 HERE WE COME!

https://www.facebook.com/EtnaBorough/posts/2232449883536974


PIT2MAD
Member
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Any progress on the plans to extend the current North Shore Trail up to Etna to connect with this new park/trail segment?

 

It’d be cool if they rehabbed the bridge at the north end of Washington’s Landing, then again that’s pretty near to last on the priority list right now for riverfront trails.


Eric
Member
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I think we talked about this on another thread – long and short, little progress. My understand is that the missing link, SHaler, is studying what it would take (i.e., $$$) to build their part. It’s gonna be expensive and it would probably require at least one if not more bridges (like the bridge between millvale and the 31st street bridge). So don’t hold your breath.

Also ,I think I remember reading on here somewhere about someone on this message board hopping the fence and using the bridge to get to Washington’s Landing. I’m guessing that that project is #1001 of the #1000 trail projects on a list somewhere. :)

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