Trail Development Update October 2020

Trail Development Update - October 2020

With the onset of the pandemic we saw a drastic increase in trail usage, which amplified our enthusiasm to continue to develop and expand the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. Even with the shutdown, Friends has continued to push forward trail development with our municipal partners. Trail development can be an opportunistic endeavor and believe us, we have been making sure to be on top of every opportunity to expand this community asset and ensure equitable access. Highlights of our progress these past months include:  

Brackenridge Borough

In late 2019, Friends of the Riverfront worked with Brackenridge Borough to complete an application to the Transportation Alternative Set Aside Program at the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission. This grant is to be used for the construction of a half a mile trail in the community along the riverfront. This trail section will be completely off-road, connecting to an on-road section in Tarentum Borough. This September it was announced that the application was successful, and the project was awarded $284,445! Construction is slated to begin in 2022. 

Tarentum Borough & East Deer Township  

In 2016, Tarentum Borough completed and installed signage for an on-road portion of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail through the community. Since that completion, opportunities have arisen to move the trail off-road onto a separated shared-use path. This September, Tarentum Borough, in partnership with their neighbors in East Deer Township, and with assistance from Friends of the Riverfront submitted an Active Allegheny grant application for $50,000. The grant would go towards the planning and design of the trail between these two communities. This potential connection will result in an additional three miles of trail connecting two communities together and connecting to the developing section of trail in Brackenridge Borough. This grant is on a rolling basis and the communities hope to hear a positive response in the coming weeks. 

Cheswick Borough

In October 2020, Cheswick Borough, with assistance from Friends of the Riverfront, submitted an Active Allegheny grant application for $35,500 towards the planning and design of a roughly one-mile connection in the community. The Borough will also be looking at a connecting route that can be used by local residents to connect them to the riverfront as well as create a loop for recreation within the community. This grant is on a rolling basis and the communities hope to hear a positive response in the coming weeks. 

Economic Impact Study 

This past year, Friends of the Riverfront completed a baseline economic study for the north shore of the Allegheny Valley from Millvale to Harrison Township. This portion of the Allegheny Valley is currently under development by Friends of the Riverfront, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, and the 16 municipalities to establish a major extension of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. Developing this section will add an additional 26 miles of trail to the Three Rivers Heritage Trail System and connect the next major greenway, the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail. This network will be a roughly 270-mile system from Point State Park to the Centennial Tower in Erie, PA. The importance of establishing a baseline is so that we can show the measured impact of the trail as more sections are developed.

More info on the baseline study.

Strip District Extension 

For the past year and a half Friends of the Riverfront has been working closely with the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure on a Three Rivers Heritage Trail extension in the Strip District. This section would run along the riverfront from roughly 24th St to 33rd St and add nearly a mile of additional trail. This acquisition project will utilize a popular method of building trails called railbanking. This process allows the City to acquire a rail corridor as one parcel as opposed to negotiating access across various separate parcels. Currently, Friends and the City are completing necessary foundation work for this process which includes a title search, appraisal, and property survey.  

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