Walkable Community project committee takes a field visit
MUNCY – Three main areas were looked at by committee members and key partners, Seda-Cog and PennDot last Thursday in the Muncy community in order to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, street scape design and community aestehtics. Brian Auman, Landscape Architect and Principal Planner for SEDA-Council of Governments planned a field visit with Christopher King, transportation planner with PennDot and Shawn Stille, a PennDot civil engineer to help assess the needs in the Main Street business district, the community gateway at Muncy Valley Hospital, and the truck access area to the Industrial Park area.
The group met at the Borough parking lot at 4 p.m. and proceeded to the corner of E.Water and Main Streets to observe the traffic patterns, determine curb and sidewalk street scape improvements and implement better lighting.
“It is our hope to make a regional connection of alleyways and paths that will be safer for pedestrians and school traffic,” said Auman. Some areas such as Engletown Road to N. Penn near the boat launch by the river on Route 405 have no sidewalks or curbs. “That is not a safe area,” said Linda Stein, committee memger.
Heavy traffic patterns were observed by the group as they discussed traffic flow in the downtown area while large freight trucks tried to make narrow turns onto Main Street from the intersection on Rt. 405 and Water Streets.
“There are definitely some hot spots,” added Auman. “We surely don’t want to lose any buildings or the downtown urban appeal of the building’s architecture,” he said as he pointed out the narrowness of the streets and sidewalks. A suggestion was made to set up alternate traffic routes for large trucks, and Eugene Winters noted this may have been done in the past.
Another thought to slow down traffic was to add more trees along both sides of Main Street as they were placed on the east side of town but not the west. “Trees can psychologically slow down traffic,” said Tom Grbemick, Director of Community Resource Center for Seda-Cog.
It was suggested to add more trees along the hospital zone to help slow down traffic in that area. “More curb extensions could also be added,” suggested King from PennDot. There is an overhead light and a traffic signal to allow pedestrians to cross, and Grbemick pointed out the lack of sidewalks on the parking side of the hospital. King replied that the funding from PennDot is 80 percent and the rest of it has to come from municipalities. “This is why it is so important to partner with boroughs and townships,” emphasized Grbemick. “We need to think more than just Muncy. East Lycoming is all one area now. People need to start thinking regional,” he said. “Connecting sidewalks and paths to the river and national bike paths should be part of our long range goal,” explained Stein.
Key partners will take a multi community approach to attract business, industry and jobs according to Seda-Cog. It will be a partnership with schools, hospitals and businesses.
The project is part of a long range pilot planning design utilizing a federal grant and state funds with Susquehanna Greenways and other funding sources through collaborative partnerships with municipal boroughs and townships in the Muncy, Hughesville and Berwick communities.