32 mile Alegheny River Trail

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Lenny
Participant
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I read in the Post Gazette this morning,(feb. 24), Dan Onoroto’s proposal to construct a 32 mile trail along the Allegheny River.It never mentioned a timeline when they’ll start building it or when it will be completed?? Will it be finished 3 years from now,10years from now,or even 25-50 years from now??? Does anybody know????


Swalfoort
Participant
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Community involvement and trail routing work is currently underway…..


the beast
Participant
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I would think that this trail is still way to early in the planning stages to put an estimated timeline on it.

I would say that the more people that attend the upcoming meetings, talk about this and support the trail in any way they can, then the faster it can move forward.

I really, really want this trail ASAP as it will most likely run somewhere within a few blocks of my house and will make my commute and transporting the kids via bike much easier and safer.


Swalfoort
Participant
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Come find out for yourself! Public meetings are scheduled for early March.

Public Meetings for 32-Mile Trail along Allegheny River

Tuesday, March 2

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Millvale Community Center, 416 Lincoln Avenue, Millvale

Wednesday, March 3

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Alle-Kiski Museum, 224 E. 7th Avenue, Tarentum

Saturday, March 6

1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Boyd Community Center, 1220 Powers Run Road, O’Hara Township

For more information and to download plans, please visit the Trail Status page of http://www.friendsoftheriverfront.org.


Kordite
Participant
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I’m going to try to attend all three.


sloaps
Participant
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It’s been about 1/2 to 3/4 of a year now since McTish Kunkel was awarded the contract to identify properties along a tacit zone along the Allegheny that a trail corridor can be built. I guess they have completed that “fact finding” phase and have submitted the plans for public review.

My understanding is that the plans should show roughly, a proposed path through all these municipalities with all the affected properties and current owners identified.

From here everyone reviews the proposed path. If all goes well, then the designer (McTish?) will move forward in finalizing the corridor design documents (pavement width, retaining walls, shoulders, fencing, access drives, parking lots, etc.) to allow the governments to precisely identify the affected properties, quantify and appraise the “strips” to “take” and then begin contacting property owners to purchase the property necessary to build the corridor. this part will take quite a few months, or even years if there are a lot of individual owners.

@swalfoort – sound about right?


Swalfoort
Participant
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That would be the standard process/expectation, although with less “take” and more “buy” which means more lead time to identify/secure funding too. However, there might be some larger property owners involved, which can speed the process if they are cooperative, or slow the process (as with SandCastle). My hope is that the planner is pursuing a two pronged approach — the creation of a corridor and the creation of a trail. A corridor that makes use of trail where available, and low traffic/low speed roads with bicycle friendly treatments to connect trail segments, could make this a functional CORRIDOR fairly quickly. Full trail connectivity could then follow at a more leisurely pace.


sloaps
Participant
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Post Gazette has an article today about the proposed Trail from Millvale to Harrison. Clicky


Steven
Participant
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The detailed maps showing the proposed trail, on the Friends of the Riverfront site here are encouraging, though in some spots it’s a little hard to make out the different trail alternatives (the right-hand side of page 4, for instance, which seems to have yellow, blue and white versions of the trail).


sloaps
Participant
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the right-hand side of page 4

The white dots look like an error, because they don’t continue on page 5 – I guess in this area the preferred and practical alignments are the same.

Did you see the proposed trail through East Deer on page 15? You double back over the railroad, slip between the oil and chemical companies, then skirt by the chemical company an exit by the water treatment plant. Delicious.


reddan
Keymaster
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Did you see the proposed trail through East Deer on page 15? You double back over the railroad, slip between the oil and chemical companies, then skirt by the chemical company an exit by the water treatment plant. Delicious.

Sweet. I sense a Neville Island to East Deer “Better Living Thru Chemistry” ride coming on…


Swalfoort
Participant
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Great turnout last night — at least 30 people stayed for the entire presentation, and many asked really good questions, or provided local insights that were helpful.

I hope the next two meetings are as sucessful.


Lenny
Participant
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Wish I could have been at the meeting but didn’t get out of work till after 8PM.Will try to make it to the next 2 meetings.Just wondering if anyone asked a timeline when they will start and approximately when it will be finished???


reddan
Keymaster
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Just wondering if anyone asked a timeline when they will start and approximately when it will be finished???

I’d imagine that setting a realistic timeline will be difficult, when no-one has even _begun_ negotiating with property owners, much less dealing with the recalcitrant ones. See “Sandcastle”.


alankhg
Participant
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A lot of the trail looks like it’s along Pennsylvania RR land, though, so as long as Conrail is cooperative (and I presume they wouldn’t even be doing this if that weren’t the case) they could make good progress pretty quickly.


Ohiojeff
Participant
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Conrail was sold to CSX and Norfolk Southern. I think the NS might run the lines along the Allegheny, but there might also be some smaller operators involved. The AVRR perhaps? Biking up Freeport road I’ve seen trains, are there inactive lines to be rail banked there?


alankhg
Participant
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This guy’s map makes it look like the Pennsy-Conrail tracks up there are now Norfolk Southern:

http://www.lundsten.dk/railfan_pa/pit.html


sloaps
Participant
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Although the maps state “pennsylvania railroad,” Norfolk-Southern are the only live tracks up the northside of the Allegheny from Pittsburgh. There is a shortline along the southern side (Oakmont side) which I believe is the Allegheny Valley Railroad.

Most likely the information displayed on the McTish-Friends of the Riverfront maps were taken directly from the County’s Real Estate website, and not from an actual deed/title search.


Kordite
Participant
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I was speaking to to the guy running the PC and he said the file was pulled directly from County GIS data. Given that the graphics were out of date I could well imagine some of the other data being out of date.

He was using that very large GIS file during the demo, which explains why his pc was so slow.

I’ve been spending some time converting their information to a Google Earth file. Saw that the route they have going up onto the bridge at Rt 356 isn’t going to be the way they think. There are some other places where I wonder if they have the access road on the correct side of the tracks.

I’ll share that file when I’m done.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I spoke with a reporter from the Trib, as did several others. So far, I haven’t seen any story appear on their website.


sloaps
Participant
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@Kordite County GIS will give you an electronic file on a CD (ArcView dem, AutoCad dxf) for a reasonable sum of money. The file *can* contain every GIS layer they have in their online viewer, such as, Lot and Block, COG, municipal boundaries, landslide prone areas, etc.

The precision of this information is based on USGS quads and PA State mapping from the 50s, 60s and 70s. So it’s a digital copy of some very old mapping, which means it’s just as precise as google or microsoft aerial/mapping tools.


the beast
Participant
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About 75 people showed up tonight for the Tarentum meeting. There was a lady who asked if the trail would be finished in her lifetime and she got the reply that she will see trail activity in her lifetime. I think one of the presenters put it best when he said that when you build a highway you do not always build the whole entire thing at one time. So it seems that smaller snippets of the trail will be worked on and it will be pieced together as the funding, landowners, municipalities, etc agree on everything.


Lenny
Participant
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“There was a lady asking if the trail would be finished in her lifetime”.Was she an elderly woman,middle aged, or someone in her early 20’s???


the beast
Participant
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I would say whe was somewhere in the late middle age range.

The real point being that while this whole trail may not be completed quickly, sections will start appearing in the near future.


the beast
Participant
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I would say whe was somewhere in the late middle age range.

The real point being that while this whole trail may not be completed quickly, sections will start appearing in the near future.


BradQ
Participant
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I once rode with a friend from the end of Allegheny River Blvd in Oakmont, where it more or less dead ends next to train tracks, all the way to the train bridge near Schenley, across from Freeport. A lot of straight up ballast, some gravel, some dirt, some more trail-like conditions, likely none of it particularly legal. I did it on a road bike with 28mm tires, but your results may vary. I believe it went roughly 25 miles along the river before hitting a railroad bridge we didn’t feel comfortable crossing near Schenley, though it looks like you can cross via a road a couple of more miles up.

I would do it again.


Lenny
Participant
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Was at the Boyd Community meeting and it was another good turnout with about 60 enthusiastic people wanting to hear the proposed plans for the 32 mile Allgheny River Trail.Hopefully they can start on this project real soon!!


gimpPAC
Participant
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I’d imagine that setting a realistic timeline will be difficult, when no-one has even _begun_ negotiating with property owners, much less dealing with the recalcitrant ones. See “Sandcastle”.

Is there something we can do as cyclists to help change the mind of of the Sandcastle folks toward a more positive view of this trail development? Come on, can you imagine people trucking through the finished trail, using a bike as a way of getting TO Sandcastle, or at the end of a hot summer day on their several day ride into Pittsburgh – stopping to cool off on a water slide? Whole families cycling together to the water park? I’ve never been to Sandcastle, but I would go if they would accommodate bikes.

Who does their marketing? Seriously!


Mick
Participant
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@ gimpPAC. I think that Sadcastle marketing has a very accurate picture of who would come to Sandcastle with bikes. As Stu pointed out, PAT offered to have bus stops right at their door and they declined. They know the demographic they want and also the demographics they do not want.

I think second-guessing them on marketing is silly: that is one of the things they do quite well.

What I envision happening? Nothing at all until 11/11. Then for a few months nothing.

In the spring of 2012, I imagine there will be a well-publicized boycotting/picketing movement and Sadcastle will cave.

Mick

PS Sadcastle: started as typo, but then I decided NOT to correct it.


Kordite
Participant
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At the meetings, I learned two things about the Sandcastle negotiations that I hadn’t heard before.

1) Negotiations have been ongoing with the Spanish company that owns Kennywood/Sandcastle. This seems to cut the recalcitrant local management that has been holding things up since the trail’s inception over 20 years ago out of the middle. As these negotiations have been ongoing since June of last year, I’m not sure whether that has improved things.

2) Apparently, when Sandcastle built the access road that we want to use as the trail, they encroached on railroad property. That is sure to add a level of complexity to any negotiations.


gimpPAC
Participant
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@ gimpPAC. I think that Sadcastle marketing has a very accurate picture of who would come to Sandcastle with bikes. As Stu pointed out, PAT offered to have bus stops right at their door and they declined. They know the demographic they want and also the demographics they do not want.

ah, SADcastle indeed. What a ridiculous lack of foresight and inclusiveness… I hope that will change with the new management. Or we’ll force them to like you said.

2) Apparently, when Sandcastle built the access road that we want to use as the trail, they encroached on railroad property. That is sure to add a level of complexity to any negotiations.

Yoi…


Nick D
Participant
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I agree with the Mick about the demographics.

There is an irrational assumption from a lot of people, that people on bicycles are low-income.


sloaps
Participant
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Sandcastle has owned the land on the other side of the CSX tracks, too. Parcel IDs: 92-D-10-0 and 92-D-10-1 Though, they have not done anything with them.

It was only until last year, apparently, that the titles were transferred over to the new owner…


Mick
Participant
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Sadcastle Demographics – Not just that bikers might tend to spend less money on trivial pursuit than SUV drivers (although I think that is the case). If you owned an amusement park, how much would it be worth to you to keep groups (maybe even rival groups) of unsupervised 14 year-olds out?


Mick
Participant
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2) Apparently, when Sandcastle built the access road that we want to use as the trail, they encroached on railroad property. That is sure to add a level of complexity to any negotiations.

Wow!

It could complicate things – but then, it might simplify them too. “Soorry, Mr Sad Castle, we don’t need yer stinkin’ permissions. Mr Railroad says we can ride.”


Kordite
Participant
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Except that railroads are notoriously difficult to come to terms with when dealing with trails. The Allegheny Valley Community Trail Initiative will have 17 miles of trail that will need to be agreed to by the railroad. That’s going to be a tough sell.

I wonder how the relationship that was able to get agreements on the two flyover bridges in Whitaker and Port Perry might translate into agreements at Sandcastle and along the Allegheny. The Allegheny River corridor is owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad, leased to Norfolk-Southern. I don’t recall who was talked to for the Mon Valley. I know CSX trains ride the tracks.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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how much would it be worth to you to keep groups (maybe even rival groups) of unsupervised 14 year-olds out?

How big of a problem would this be, really? Unsupervised kids can already get to Kennywood by bus. There also must be a rule about being booted for unruly behavior. Even at that, accompanied by a parent into the place does not equate to constant supervision by said parent.

Also, Pennsy -> Penn Central -> Conrail -> Norfolk-Southern, IIRC.


Kordite
Participant
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I’ve got a Google Earth KMZ of the proposed trail at: http://www.tasigh.org/kmz/Three%20Rivers%20Heritage%20Trail.kmz

I’ve got lots of other trails at http://www.tasigh.org/kmz/ but many aren’t as up to date as I should like. My laptop with all the most current stuff I had was stolen and I’ll have to recreate a bunch of data.

Enjoy what I’ve got, though.


sloaps
Participant
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Upperdate.

Highmark – being the white knight in the regional battle for healthcare – as donated lotsa moolah for Aspinwall to get their Marina, and their section of the Allegheny River Trail developed.

Article says more info to come in 2 weeks!


ejwme
Participant
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That is so awesome.

Now if only there was some movement on MY side of the river… Sometimes I wonder if the new development going in in Oakmont (east side of town) has considered how much more awesome their development would actually be if they had direct trail access to town.

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