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Bicycle corridor plan gets Connellsville's OK

| Monday, May 20, 2013, 8:06 a.m.

Steve Patchan, a Connellsville area native and principal with Aspect Planning and Design of Pittsburgh, volunteered his time to help the city develop a community bike route throughout the city.

Connellsville City Council decided to take him up on his offer, passing a resolution last week approving a bicycle network corridor plan submitted by Aspect Planning. Council members also authorized Aspect to map out and identify corridors throughout the city for bicycle infrastructure improvements.

Patchan said that with the Great Allegheny Passage opening in Pittsburgh, Connellsville should be ready to accommodate and cater to a lot more bicyclists making their way through the city.

“This is a new company, and being that I'm from the area, I approached the city about doing this pro bono to help them get ahead of the opportunity that is sure to present itself with the opening of the Great Allegheny Passage,” he said.

Development of the bike route throughout the city is just the first of a three-step process to provide Connellsville with a plan it can point to when trying to secure any type of grants or funding, Patchan said.

He said they hope by June 30 to present a plan to the public to go along with the bike route, which would suggest projects or opportunities the city can choose or not choose to engage.

After the public presentation, Aspect then would take the plan back to its offices to revise, depending on any suggestions or comments.

Patchan said the goal is to have council approve the completed plan by July 31.

The plan can only help the city, Councilman Tom Karpiak said. He commended and thanked Patchan for all of the work done so far.

“They've been working on this for about a year,” Karpiak said. “They've measured the streets. They've checked the traffic flow, looked into parking and how the businesses would benefit, and we haven't had to pay a thing.”

Having a bike route throughout the city is a huge deal in the biking community, he noted.

“If you draw a line on a road, the bikers will follow it,” Karpiak said. “This is a step we can grow with. It's enough to achieve bronze status in the biking community.”

The more people you have in the community, the better for businesses, he added.

“We want to be able to lead these people to your businesses,” Karpiak said. “This is a win-win for this city.”

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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