GAP Trail, What Next

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dbacklover
Participant
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I posted some thoughts on the idea of completing the GAP trail over at my blog

http://fatguyorangebike.blogspot.com/2010/07/long-way-baby.html

you can read it if you want but what I ended up with was while it is fantastic that this last part of the trail from DC to Pittsburgh will soon (such a relative word) be finished, and we should be proud of the fact. I have to wonder what’s next. Where would you like to see then next big bike trail go to? To the North, South, West

Erie?, Detroit?, Chicago?


reddan
Keymaster
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West…link up with the trail system in Ohio.


dbacklover
Participant
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My thoughts exactly.


ejwme
Participant
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I’d like to see some southern connections – Seneca and The New would be cool, WV is so gorgeous… heh, gorge… gorgeous… sorry. Also, I’ve got family in Toronto, so north would be convenient as well.

Problem is, once it gets to those two places, I don’t know that either of those have much infrastructure (esp WV) for bikes. If Ohio has a system already in place, that would be convenient. I’ve heard of people going to Cleveland a lot by bike.


Mick
Participant
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You mean long distance trails that have access to Pittsburgh, not local bike facilities?

The National Bike Highway! An off-road bike trail connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific.

I hope there’ll be movement towards that – and making that go through Pittsburgh – once the GAP gets through to Pittsburgh.

The Panhandle is few more miles along the way, if we make sure the GAP connects directly to it.

More locally:

Complete the missing parts of the Montour and GAP -> Montour.

Due North to Erie, Canada, the Erie Canal?

East to the Greenway (and beyond)? Like up the Allegheny, then East?

From the C&O Hancock/Williamsport NorthEast to Gettyburg, Philly?

Connellesville-Morgantown?

Pittsburgh-Cleveland?


Mick
Participant
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, I don’t know that either of those have much infrastructure (esp WV) for bikes.

They have a great set up that’s expanding faster than I can keep track of it.

For example, every inch of the Mon River in WV has bike trail next to it. Various tributaries have trails branching off.

They also have old highways that are supersueded by interstate, but still go through for trips. < understatement>You will get your daily hill quota on those roads.

They do have a redneck or two, though.


Impala26
Participant
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Allegheny Valley Trail: It would link communities all the way up to Oakmont, New Kensington/Tarentum Freeport, Kittaning, and even as far as Oil City and maybe even connect it with another trail to go to Erie.

Such a trail could connect to the ultimate recreation destination in the Allegheny National Forest.

It could also connect to the existing Freeport-Butler trail, allowing for even more connectivity. Said trail might need to be upgraded for easier use however.

Perhaps an easier way to get from the eastern portion of Pittsburgh to points east like Monroeville, Murrysville, Greensburg, Jeanette, Latrobe, Ligonier.


ejwme
Participant
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Oh, man, I would love to be able to get easily from Murraysville to the city.

I have a dream of a Bicycles Beltway around Pittsburgh. Like the DC beltway, but only for bicycles (and nice pedestrians too). None of this narrow nonsense, I want it the size of a two lane road, at least. No stop signs or lights, just on/off ramps of some kind. It could be cool. It will never happen, but it’s nice to think about while I’m washing dishes or waiting for the bus.


dbacklover
Participant
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You know the more I think about this, the more I get excited about the idea of having all the communities connected by safe bikeways than I am with idea of long haul bike trails.

I guess the reason why this excites me more is that I am car free and would love a good safe way of getting from here to there. Since it seems like whenever I want to go from here to there I always end up finding some road section or intersection that it just a little to chancy for my comfort.

this will be tomorrows post “Thinking Small”


Swalfoort
Participant
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Much of this is already underway, or in the planning stages:

North: Erie to Pittsburgh Trail Assn is looking to link existing trails beween Pgh and Erie (or suburban Erie). Connection from Millvale to Freeport is the most local step. FOTR working on that, and many of you participated in meetings las summer.

Butler Freeport Trail currently extends to Butler from Freeport, with brand new on road share the road markings in Butler (as of last week). Eventual goal is to get folks from Butler to Moraine State Park.

West: Ohio River Trail Council working on a connection between Montour Trail (at Groveton) and the Ohio State line. From there it is just a few miles to the Lake to River Trail that runs north and south through extreme eastern Ohio. Feasibility study for this project recently released. PennDOT project to improve ped/bike access along West Carson Street will strongly enhance access to Groveton from downtown.

South: Sheepskin Trail in Fayette County has long term plans to connect the GAP to the American Discovery Trail, a multi-state trail that runs through West Virginia (east-west).

Montour access to airport will permit riders ont he Montour Trail to directly access the passenger terminal at PIT. Trail users will be able to fly in, assemble their bikes, and start their ride to DC (or reverse) before too very long. Small bit of funding is all that remains to be accomplished.

East: There is discussion of a trail, I forget the name now, that would extend east from Trafford – maybe to Muraysville? It’s in the valley that Route 130 passes over as it enters Trafford from Pitcairn. That would make LOVELY riding from Monroeville/East Hills to the east.

Your support of these projects will go a long way to making them happen. Each project has a website, some have facebook or myspace pages. Become a friend. Numbers count in this game.


Mick
Participant
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Although the idea of a Coast-to-Coast off-road bike trail does excite me, I’m basically with dbacklover. The local facilities are what allows people to use bikes as their primary method of transportation.

American Discovery Trail – I was happy to hear of a coast-to coast trail, but bummed that it doesn’t go through my neighborhood. Although it does go C2C, it isn’t all off-road, so maybe we have a chance to be part of the first off-road C2C.

The GAP from the southside out to Mckeesport is, of course, critical in both local travel and in long distance travel. Same for Freeport-Millvale.

What Swolfoort says about being Facebook friends? That makes me almost want to sign up for Facebook again.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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Allegheny Valley to points north!

Plus love the ideas of interconnecting trails throughout the area.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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My favorite idea is to head north from the corner of Babcock/Babcock/ThreeDegree in Ross, following the old Harmony interurban trolley. Assuming there were no problems securing right-of-way (ha ha ha), you could get to Butler to the NE and Harmony to the NW, directly from the metro Pgh area. Though on-road, Evergreen/Babcock is fairly pleasant from Millvale up to that spot, almost to the point of passing my would-you-let-your-10-year-old-ride-here-solo test.

That R-O-W is very difficult, though. First, there has been significant suburban development in McCandless. Second, the Perry Highway overpass has been filled in and a major trestle (by Highland/Sloop/Wittmer) removed since 1930. An attempt to “trail-ize” this in the late 1990s failed for the usual NIMBY reasons. The boro of Bradford Woods was most uncooperative, IIRC.

That part from Warrendale through Ogle might prove problematic as well. Ogle? You know it better by its current name, Cranberry Twp. Plus that new 76/79 interchange sits right on top of the old R-O-W.

All that aside, it would be a lovely trail.


Swalfoort
Participant
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@stu, as I suspect you know, the old Harmony Trail was proposed, and partially funded close to 20 years ago now. Unfortunately, very talented people could not find the solution to the property issues you described. The situation has not gotten any easier in 20 years, nor funding any more available. I think we can call that connection a pipe dream, at least for now.


Pierce
Participant
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Speaking of pipe dreams…

We need eminent domain status for bike trailslanes


Lenny
Participant
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I would love to see for our next big project, extending the southside trail from Station Square, heading Northwest to Coraopolis.You can then get on the Montour Trail from the city to Groveton, or at the other end in Clairton.A close second favorite would extend the Heritage trail from Millvale up to Harrison City, and beyond, to go all the way to Erie.


alankhg
Participant
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The North Bend Rail Trail in WV has the potential to be amazing but is barely maintained along much of its length– almost singletrack. But it has about 20 tunnels! You can get most of the way to it on bike trails down the Mon on the WV border– there are gaps around Clarksburg and the like. But if they’d run a rail trail down the Mon in PA and fill thr gaps in WV it’d be spectacular.


alankhg
Participant
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The North Bend Rail Trail in WV has the potential to be amazing but is barely maintained along much of its length– almost singletrack. But it has about 20 tunnels! You can get most of the way to it on bike trails down the Mon on the WV border– there are gaps around Clarksburg and the like. But if they’d run a rail trail down the Mon in PA and fill thr gaps in WV it’d be spectacular.


Steven
Participant
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Here’s a PDF map from the Allegheny Places website with a bunch of proposed trails on it. Not all are for bikes, though. It includes some hiking and water trails too.

http://www.alleghenyplaces.com/maps/ec/Trails.pdf


ejwme
Participant
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Ooo… I second Stu’s pipedream of Millvale -> Cranberry (aka Hell). At least while I work there. It would be nice for the residents of Hell to be able to escape w/o having to futz with the 76/79/228/19 interchange (coincidentally exactly where I work, at the convergence of 4 inconvenient highways). I may just get ornary enough to bike it out of spite, but I’m not that ornary yet.


ieverhart
Participant
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We need eminent domain status for bike trailslanes

I believe the city used eminent domain to acquire land for the trail and/or parking lot at the east end of the Jail Trail. The ex-owner wasn’t pleased, and later did some mischief related to it.


Schmoo
Participant
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I know it’s slightly unrelated, but only a small section in Blairsville is preventing riders from being able to go from Slickville in Westmoreland County to Ebensburg in Cambria Caounty and up to Indiana, PA. I think it’s part of a Heritage Corridor that should someday reach from somewhere north of Pittsburgh to Harrisburg. All I can find is a name for it: Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway.


Kordite
Participant
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Mischief by the lot owner? Oh, I could tell you the long, sordid story. The short form is that the city condemned the property then built a public parking lot. Disgruntled, Mr. DePasquale then took it upon himself to vandalize cars parked there by putting grease under the door handles. He got caught and then got let off because he’s old.


Lenny
Participant
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I’d like to see a trail that follows the Chartiers Creek from Mckees Rock to Cannonsburg.This was propsosed a number of years ago, but was put on the back burner, and now only considered a pipedream.I’d like this to come to fruition and see this happen.


mark
Participant
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I used to live on chartiers creek and there were always rumors about this happening… i can remember specifically hearing/reading that the estimated date to finish was 2015 and thinking that was CRAZY, they were working on a couple of the bridges about 5 years ago, I know there are a couple places they have to cross the creek where the old bridges have been torn down (one of these was in my back yard as a kid, we built a zipline off of it!) and there are some ENORMOUS bridges that probable need a lot of structural work


Lenny
Participant
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I would love to see the Westmoreland Heritage Trail be extended further east towards Pittsburgh.I rode it last saturday, starting in Saltsburg and ending in Slicksille.It’s only about 6 miles.I would also like to see the 2 mile Sheepskin Trail be extended further, towards West Virginia.Hopefully this year or next they will make substantial progress on both of these trails.


Lenny
Participant
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Correction on the Westmoreland Heritage Trail.I meant to say I’d like the Trail to be extended further “WEST” towards Pittsburgh.

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