Helping to build the Susquehanna Greenway
MUNCY – Susquehanna Health has announced their commitment to the Walkable Communities Project during an unveiling of the master plans at a public event scheduled at the Muncy Valley Hospital.
“We are committed to this initiative to improve the health status in the community we serve,” announced Susan L. Browning, Director of Community Health and Benefit at Susquehanna Health.
Brian Auman, Landscape Architect with the project and representing SEDA-COG Community Resource Center, a partner in the initiative, said, “It is now evolving from concept to reality.” He assured that federal funds can be secured for these plans based on today’s high obesity rates, worse in rural areas. “With some street enhancements and coordinated connections between townships and boroughs, the people can make active lifestyle choices,” he said,
With five years in the making, this has been a long term vision to create a trail concept plan by developing a network of streets and trails with established bike and pedestrian routes according to Auman. Municipal and county officials have agreed to prioritize the project for funding purposes, adding to the infrastructure of keeping communities safe for walking and biking.
Concept designs of adding more tree lined streets, and visual cues to slow people down amidst the increasing traffic and heavy trucks, were shown to improve the areas of most concern to residents.
Starting with Muncy Valley Hospital, a major gateway to Muncy, the traffic does not know when to slow down when entering from the beltway. The area needs to be more constricted to be able to see more distance away. Also coming off the bridge from Montgomery into Muncy presents a similar situation. The traffic is not cued enough to slow down in time to transition from 55 miles an hour to 25 miles.
In the Hughesville area, on Rt. 405 better connections and a re-alignment between Boak Ave. and Murray Farm Lane were discussed to cut back on speeding.
Wes Fahringer from DCNR said that he could help provide technical assistance and build partnerships to help with funding on these projects. “Muncy is a good site to plan to tie in with the County Greenway and open space plan,” he said. “We can reconnect the people with the river.” He added that they are looking at trails now as a form of transportation. As part of the greater Susquehanna Greenway, putting in trails is a high priority to fill gaps and link to Pine Creek and the River Trail. “Muncy is poised in a good position to do this, a sustainable enhancement to build an attractive community and encourage interaction.”
A master plan for Green Street Park is in effect which will connect the hospital with an 8 minute walk to Green Street. “This will be a nice partnership between the boroughs,” said Linda Stein. This is an active living plan to get involved with now concluded Auman.