The Pennsylvania Township News recently asked several experts and township officials about their experiences in trail planning. John Buerkle, who heads our Parks and Recreation Studio, offered some of his advice. To read the article, click here.
This past Friday John Buerkle and Mike Kotyk attended this symposium which focused on advancing trail planning and development efforts in the Power of 32 region (www.powerof32.org), which includes PA, OH, WV, and Maryland. The Symposium gave John and Mike an opportunity to rekindle relationships with former clients and friends, as well as participate in “Setting the Regional Trail Agenda”.
The Symposium brought together the “who’s who of trail development” within the four-state area. It was a great opportunity for veterans to discuss how to expand the trails into a regional network and to tackle those difficult challenges. It also was an excellent opportunity for new trail advocates to garner knowledge and support from those who “have been there and done that”.
Mike enjoyed the opportunity to network as well as gain new knowledge related to asset based community development and economic impacts from trail development, as well as learning more about the development of the regional trail planning tool.
During the symposium, it became evident that the geographic area of the Power of 32 should include more counties as there are other opportunities to expand the regional trail network. Presenters frequently referenced the Power of 32, 48, 64, or Power of 32×2.
John and Mike were happy to share their thoughts on bringing Chautauqua County, NY into the fold. They are working on a trail feasibility study to connect Chautauqua Institution to Barcelona Harbor on Lake Erie. The trail will eventually connect to the northern segment of the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail (www.eriepittsburghtrail.org). This effort is being undertaken through the Westfield Development Corporation (www.westfieldny.com) and the Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Economic Development (http://www.planningchautauqua.com) with the assistance of Pashek Associates.
Our current and past clients, as well as friends in trail community, present at the symposium included:
- Ohio River Trail Council – www.ohiorivertrail.org
- Allegheny Valley Trails Association – www.avta-trails.org
- Allegheny Valley Land Trust – www.armstrongtrail.org
- Cambria County Conservation and Recreation Authority –www.co.cambria.pa.us/conservation-and-recreation.aspx
- Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy –www.rachelcarsontrails.org
- Pittsburgh Trails Advocacy Group – www.ptagtrails.org
- Allegheny County Parks Foundation –www.acparksfoundation.org
- Montour Trail Council – www.montourtrail.org
- Erie to Pittsburgh Trail Alliance – www.eriepittsburghtrail.org
- Oil Region Alliance – www.oilregion.org
- Clarion County Trails Association – www.clariontrails.com
- Ohio Valley Trail Partners – www.ohiovalleytrailpartners.org
- National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program –www.nps.gov/ncrc/programs/rtca/index.htm
- Rails to Trails Conservancy – www.railstotrails.org
- Pennsylvania Environmental Council – www.pecpa.org
Last night John Buerkle and Mike Kotyk presented a draft Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan to local residents, cyclists, and city officials of Jamestown, NY. A standing room only crowd packed the Lillian Vitanza Ney Renaissance Center to review, discuss, and provide feedback on a draft of the City of Jamestown Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan.
John and Mike were extremely pleased with the turn out for this meeting. 30 to 40 members of the Hollyloft Cycling Team showed their support by taking time to stop by during their weekly Tuesday night ride. A quick head count indicated that an additional 70 plus persons attended the meeting. The high attendance really shows how Jamestown residents are interested in making walking and bicycling safer and more comfortable within the City.
The Chautauqua County Health Network’s Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work, and Play is coordinating the plan to promote active transportation as a key component of healthy lifestyles. CHP is funded through the New York State Department of Health.
“We know that if the city is more walkable and bikeable, that will encourage the community to go out and be more active and we are focused on the public health aspect of chronic disease prevention,” said Janet Forbes, CHP project coordinator. “Having this plan in place is going to be helpful for substantiating the need for funding and what the next steps are.”
This morning Jim Pashek was riding into the office on his bike and had a nice chat with Chris, a young man riding his bike to work downtown. Chris works in the Mental Health field and is studying at Pitt in Social Work. Chris recently moved to Millvale from the East End. He loves Pamela’s and the other great shops in Millvale but the primary reason he moved there was the trail connection from Millvale Riverfront Park to downtown. Chris’s story is a great example of how trails revitalize river towns.
Not only do trails provide recreational opportunities, but they truly are alternatives to driving and parking in the City. They become magnets for young professionals like Chris (and older professionals like Jim) who want to live near a trail so they can ride their bike to work or school.
Chris, thanks for talking with Jim and making the 7 mile trip seem much shorter today.
The Pittsburgh Green Workplace challenge enables businesses to participate in a friendly challenge program where they can receive recognition for their sustainable actions and achievements.
Pashek Associates is leading 12 businesses in the small business category (less than 50 people).
According to Valerie Patrick, PhD and Sustainability Coordinator for Bayer Corporation, “sustainability is a way of thinking and applies to every aspect of our work.” We couldn’t agree with her more.
Pashek Associates received points by tracking utility bills using an EPA website, being a bike friendly business, having a Prius for a corporate car, and planting native plants on the roof of their building. Green office policies of using washable cups and recycling also contributed to the firm’s leadership position in the challenge. Next up is an energy audit to begin reducing energy demand and our carbon footprint.
For more information, or if you are interested in signing up for the Challenge, please see the Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge Website.
Back in April of 2011, the office bought a pair of bikes in order to reduce our Carbon footprint. Along with encouraging employees to bike into work, the office has racked up 260.9 miles of pedal power in 2011. Those miles included riding to lunch, errands, meetings, and commute to work.
By riding instead of driving, we have saved almost 11 gallons of gasoline and about 211.78 pounds of CO2. In case you are wondering what 211.78 pounds looks like, imagine a 12.3 foot cube. That’s 1,876.30 cubic feet of greenhouse gases saved from entering our atmosphere! We hope to ride, instead of drive, even more in 2012.
Today, a couple of us decided to ride our office bikes two miles (taking the scenic route through Point State Park) to grab lunch at the farmer’s market in Market Square. The plaza was abuzz with people and activity. Pedestrians and bicyclists came to socialize, eat lunch, pick up some wine or food for later, and listen to live music. In addition, B-cycle was in the Square demonstrating how bike sharing works and gathering support for a B-cycle program in Pittsburgh.
B-cycle works along the same line as the Zip Car. It works like this… Say you want to make a couple of errands or run to a meeting nearby, but don’t want to deal with parking, the bus just takes too long, and/or you feel like cutting down your CO2 emissions and you don’t have a bike. Well, you can walk a couple blocks to the nearest B-station and buy a membership card or swipe a card you paid for online to unlock a groovy-looking bike complete with heavy duty basket. You ride to your destination and lock the bike back up at another B-station.
For more information about B-cycle, visit their website!
Pashek Associates staff member Mike Kotyk made his first journey to New York City for the 34th annual Five Boro Bike Tour. The ride took place on Sunday, May 1st with more than 30,000 cyclists participating. Featuring 42 miles of car-free streets through all five boroughs, the tour cruised by sites such as the Empire State Building, historic Harlem, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty.
Mike and his wife stayed on the Upper West Side throughout the trip, which afforded them the opportunity to utilize the Hudson River Greenway to travel to and from the tour. The Greenway is known as the most heavily used bikeway in the United States and is the longest trail in the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway system. The planning and design of the greenway is remarkable as it provides a completely car free multi-use trail for commuters as well as for recreation. The trail follows along the Hudson River for more than 13 miles providing great views and open air breezes off the water as it passes through several parks, playgrounds, and court complexes. The southern terminus of the trail is at Battery Park in Lower Manhattan, which is where the tour began.
One of the things Mike was most looking forward to along the course of the tour was gaining a new perspective of the architecture throughout Manhattan. Though he tended to focus more on not crashing into the plethora of other closely packed cyclists, the experience of being on a bicycle along Avenue of the Americas was awe inspiring.
The sharp contrast of leaving the skyscrapers of midtown Manhattan and entering the lush green of Central Park was fantastic. Taking in the beautiful scenery riding through the Park with 32,000 fellow cyclists was truly an experience Mike will never forget.
The first major rest area in Astoria Park was the most memorable. Located along the East River in Queens, Astoria Park is situated adjacent to the Robert F. Kennedy (Triborough) Bridge. The park contains New York City’s largest swimming pool and utilizes the space underneath the bridge deck for a skate park. The views of the Triborough and Hell’s Gate Bridges, as well as the Manhattan Skyline across the East River, were absolutely beautiful.
The ride finishes dramatically by taking cyclists across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. When opened in 1964, it was the world’s longest suspension span bridge. The entrances of the bridge are at historic Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn and Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island. The Five Boro Bike Tour and the New York City Marathon are the only two events that allow people to cross the bridge without using a motor vehicle.
The tour culminated with a Festival at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island. Finally, there was a short three mile ride to the Staten Island Ferry which was packed with bicycles as it floated by the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor on its way back to Battery Park in lower Manhattan. In all, the ride was a very rewarding experience and one of the most spectacular events Mike says he has ever participated in. Needless to say, he’ll be making the trek back to New York City for the 2012 Five Boro Bike Tour.