You’ve no doubt seen and/or heard about this by now :
I was talking about it the other day and was basically dismissed by a fellow (who happens to be a “big player” in the trails circles around here) who essentially stated that it was recycled information. Apparently, according to this fellow, Penn Future laid all of this out several years back, it was a nice idea but too expensive and evidently, never going anywhere in our life times.
An impressive document, to be sure. It was an alternative proposal in 2002 to the Mon Valley Expressway, which the PF group felt was not going give the the enough bang for the big bucks ($2 billion, to be exact) that it was going to cost.
11-12 years hence, we now know that the MVE was built (is still being built) and the Citizens Plan was (and is) not being built.
I think it is safe to say that the Mon Valley has not been re-vitalized in the way that proponents of the highway were leading us to believe it would be, back then. It is still a lightly traveled road that someday hopes to connect Route 51, near Large, PA to I-68 in West Virginia. The original plan was to go to the Monroeville interchange of the PA Turnpike and connect it to I-68. I am not sure today if that is still in the plans. Instead of the citizens plan, we got the MVE. There is no gridlock on the MVE while ours is getting worse.
I noticed that Ray Reeves was part of the group that put the plan together. I don’t know Ray personally, but I like him. He headed up the county planning office several years back, supported the Montour Trail back in its early days, and permitted Dave Wright, an engineer from his office to work with the trail group. Ray wrote an op-ed in the PG back when there was a debate as to whether to replace 3 Rivers Stadium with two new stadiums. Ray was against it, as were a majority of the voters. You know the ending of this story also.
Going back to my opening comments, I think what bothered me the most was the fellow’s attitude that the thesis was just repackaged old news and irrelevant. After looking at both documents, it seems to me that they both have merit and should be discussed seriously. Imagine what kind of place this would be if we had all of these improvements in place ! This would truly be an ideal place to live and work. The money that isn’t here to do projects like this might just start coming our way if we begin to remake this area so that it benefits everyone and not just big business, the turnpike commission, and the sports cartel.
It seems advantageous, to me anyway, that any organization in this area that is involved in promoting bicycling, trails, and pedestrian travel should be behind both of these proposals.