The City of Allentown is being awarded $1 million from the state for construction of a shared use path. The Allentown segment will run from Jordan Basin Park, through Jordan Park where it will link with a segment of the trail that was constructed last year and runs through Whitehall to the 476-acre Jordan Creek Parkway.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards today announced the approval of funding for 82 projects to improve transportation alternatives and enhance mobility and public accessibility across the commonwealth. The city submitted its application back in September.
The administration awarded $66.8 million statewide through the Surface Transportation Block Grant program Set-Aside or Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside.
According to a news release from the governor’s office, PennDOT evaluated the applications and made selections based on such criteria as safety benefits, reasonableness of cost, readiness for implementation, statewide or regional significance, integration of land use and transportation decision making, collaboration with stakeholders, and leverage of other projects or funding.
“The city takes great pride in the recreational opportunities it provides for our residents and neighbors,” said Mayor Ray O’Connell. “Our trails are very popular and we are pleased to be able to expand our offerings. We are very grateful to Governor Wolf and the state for including us in the program.”
The Jordan Creek Greenway Trail acts as a critical next step in completing the 22-mile trail from Allentown to the Trexler Nature Preserve. The trail is identified as a priority project in the City of Allentown Trail Network Feasibility study entitled "Connecting Our Community - A Plan for Connecting Allentown's Parks and People through a Network of Bicycle and Pedestrian Trails." The trail system is also part of the city’s Comprehensive Plan and Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
Planning and engineering for the project is being funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources and the city’s allotment of Community Development Block Grant funds and is being completed by Michael Baker International.
The proposed 10-12 foot wide pathway will provide significant recreational, economic, educational, and environmental benefits. The project will establish a safe, continuous corridor through an urban community, which will help to promote outdoor recreation, assist in fostering a culture of active living, facilitate non-motorized transportation, and assist in marketing and promoting Allentown as a destination for trail users.
This portion is part of the larger trail project for the Jordan Creek Greenway Trail. When complete, the Trail will connect 30 existing municipalities, two state game lands, and two nationally significant greenways, ultimately connecting the Delaware and Lehigh Trail and the Appalachian Trail.
According to the state, the TA Set-Aside provides funding for projects and activities defined as transportation alternatives, including on- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities, infrastructure projects for improving non-driver access to public transportation and enhanced mobility, community improvement activities, and environmental mitigation, trails that serve a transportation purpose, and safe routes to school projects.