Helping East Goshen Township Create a Safe Space for Pedestrians & Cyclists Along the Paoli Pike
A Popular But Uninviting Corridor
Paoli Pike between Airport Road and Line Road in East Goshen Township is a desirable corridor to walk and bike because it connects a number of key destinations, including schools, offices, community facilities, retail shops, parks, and residential areas. Additionally, it has the potential to provide connections beyond East Goshen Township to neighboring municipalities and the regional trail network. However, Paoli Pike lacks continuous, connected, and dedicated bicycle and pedestrian facilities. High vehicular speeds, volumes, and congestion create an unsafe and uncomfortable environment for walking and biking.
East Goshen Township - Taking the Initiative
In 2013, East Goshen Township was one of seven municipalities that participated in the Chester County Planning Commission’s Central Chester County Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. The Paoli Pike Trail in East Goshen Township was identified as Priority Project H in the plan. The multi-use trail envisioned to connect the East Goshen Township Park and Applebrook Park with neighboring municipalities and other destinations. At the conclusion of the planning process, the Township set forth a goal of being the first municipality to implement one of the priority projects in the plan. The Township’s vision and commitment to the Paoli Pike Trail project was reinforced in 2015 updates to the Township’s Comprehensive Plan and Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan. Both documents strongly support and provide the planning framework for a trail along Paoli Pike.
In 2014, the Township applied for and was awarded a Greenways, Trails, and Recreation Program grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Commonwealth Financing Authority, to develop a Feasibility Study and Master Plan for a multi-use trail along Paoli Pike between Airport Road and Line Road. In 2015, the Township selected McMahon Associates, Inc., in association with Glackin Thomas and Panzak, as the consultant team for the Paoli Pike Trail – Feasibility Study and Master Plan.
Developing the Feasibility Study and Master Plan
The McMahon Team worked closely with East Goshen Township officials, staff, and residents throughout the development of the Feasibility Study and Master Plan. The purpose of the Feasibility Study and Master Plan was to translate the vision for the trail into an implementable plan with feasibility design solutions.
McMahon led the analysis of existing conditions, evaluation of alternative trail alignments, development of a trail conceptual plan, and development of an implementation plan and funding strategy. With a keen focus on implementation, McMahon divided the trail conceptual plan into seven logical segments for the purpose of project phasing and financing. For each segment, the McMahon Team performed a funding viability analysis and provided guidance to the Township on potential grant pursuits.
McMahon also provided hands-on assistance to engage stakeholders and the public throughout the ten-month planning process. When the project was initiated, the Township Board of Supervisors appointed a Trail Committee to guide the process and three meetings were held with the Trail Committee to solicit input at key milestones. In addition, the Township and McMahon conducted specific outreach to engage property and business owners with frontage on Paoli Pike, including a special meeting and follow-up coordination with individual property and business owners. McMahon also coordinated a technical meeting with PennDOT and the Chester County Planning Commission to review aspects of the trail design. The Township and McMahon facilitated three public meetings for the project, each in conjunction with a regularly scheduled Board of Supervisors’ meeting. The Draft Feasibility Study and Master Plan is currently posted on the Township’s website (http://eastgoshen.org/boards/trail-committee/documents) for public comment and review.
The Board of Supervisors have been actively engaged throughout the project and their leadership and commitment is demonstrated by their decision to actively pursue funding opportunities to implement the trail. Based on recommendations in the Feasibility Study and Master Plan, the Township plans to submit applications for competitive grant funding to advance design and construction of five priority segments of the trail. The Township has been coordinating with potential project partners, including neighboring municipalities, the West Chester Area YMCA, and West Chester Area School District to strengthen community support for the project.
The collaboration between East Goshen Township and the McMahon Team, as well as the Township’s proactive approach to trail planning and commitment to the Paoli Pike Trail project, are the reasons why this project received the Communities in Motion Star Award in the Planning Category in 2015.
Click HERE for a recent news story on the project.