PA Route 6 Alliance Recommends Tioga County’s Pine Creek Rail Trail For Cyclists

By User:Ruhrfisch (photo taken and cropped by self) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
Pine Creek Rail Trail. Photo by User:Ruhrfisch (photo taken and cropped by self) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Tioga County’s Pine Creek Rail Trail is one of six bike trails the PA Route 6 Alliance recommended for cyclists after PA Route 6 was designated as a touring bicycle route by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

Known as Bike Route Y, PA Route 6 has many hills, beautiful landscapes, and equally stunning towns. Terri Dennison,the PA Route 6 Alliance Executive Director who made the six bike trail recommendations, said the following about Route 6, “The trip across Route 6 will only improve in the next few years… We are excited about the potential. By making the ride safer, connecting with other bike trails and offering more access points, this plan will open up more opportunities for our small businesses and towns.” The improvements Dennison is talking about include a future Master Bicycle Plan on Route 6 that PennDOT is planning.

The six bike trails recommended by Dennison all connect to Route 6. The bike trails were recommended because of the Corridor’s heritage and history that can be discovered while traveling on the bike trails.

The first bike trail Dennison recommends is Ernst Bike Trail in Crawford County. The bike trail used to be part of the Meadville-Linesville Railroad. There are five miles of paved trails that stretch from Park Avenue Plaza to Route 19. Ice Age glaciation imprints can be seen, as can French Creek Valley, which is Pennsylvania’s most biologically varied body of water.

The second bike trail recommended by Dennison is Corry Junction Greenway Trail in Erie County. This 7.5 mile interstate trail goes all the way to New York. The trail goes through Brokenstraw Valley. The Climax locomotive and rail cars were invented and manufactured in Corry. The logging industry used the locomotive and rail cars from 1888 to the 1920’s. Cyclists might need to dismount on some areas of the trails due to inclines and some of the crossings not meeting the grade of the road.

The third bike trail Dennison recommends is Crook Farm Trail in McKean County. This 3 mile look trail is on crushed limestone. The grade of the trail is near level. There is off-road parking on Bolivar Drive between Route 219 and Tuna Creek. Located on the trail’s north end, the Crook Farm Historic Site includes a 19th century restored farm house, a tool house, a train depot, outbuildings, and a one-room schoolhouse,

The fourth bike trail recommended by Dennison is Tioga County’s own Pine Creek Rail Trail. The Pine Creek Trail, located in Pike Creek Gorge, stretches 62 mies. This bike trail goes through the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. Being mostly flat, the trail starts at Wellsboro Junction and goes to Jersey Shore, PA. The trail runs through the State Forest lands of Tioga and Tiadaghton. The trail goes through Pine Creek for 55 miles. Several waterfalls can be seen from the Pine Creek Trail.

The fifth bike trail Dennison recommends is Delaware and Hudson Trail in Lackawanna County. The trail is made of cinder, hard-packed dirt, and original ballast. A mountain bike is recommended for this trail. Cyclists may need to walk their bikes on the sections that have steep inclines and big chunks of ballast. The Lackawanna River runs parallel to the trail for a few miles. There are trees on either side of the trail in some areas.

The final bike trail recommended by Dennison is the McDade Recreational Trail in Pike County. This bike trail runs throughout the majority of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The northern most access of the trail is Milford’s Milford Beach. The river, streams, forests, farm fields, and striking landscapes can all be seen on this bike trail. The difficulty of the trail ranges from simple to arduous. The trailheads are  separated from between a half mile to five miles. Most of the trailheads go along the free bus route for the trail. The bus route is in operation during the weekends in the summer.

Mountain biking is allowed on the forest roads that are a part of the Allegheny National Forest, as well as state forests along Route 6. If you would like more information about bike trails in Pennsylvania, you can visit the PA Route 6 website at paroute6.com or the Explore PA Trails website at explorepatrails.com.

Rapid Bridge Replacement Project to Affect Traffic in Westfield Township June 13-November

penndotA  Rapid Bridge Replacement Project will affect traffic in Tioga County beginning the week of Monday, June 13th.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the bridge (JV 128) will be constructed on East Main Street (SR 49) over California Brook in Westfield Township. The work is scheduled to start on Monday, June 13th, and is expected to be finished by the beginning of November. The start date and time it takes to complete the bridge replacement project is weather permitting.

While the project is underway, drivers should expect traffic to be reduced to a single lane in either direction. The traffic will be controlled with temporary traffic signals. On average, the bridge carries 3,832 vehicles daily.

The Rapid Bridge Replacement Project is a Public-Private Partnership (P3) between Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners (PWKP) and PennDOT. For a period of 25 years, PWKP is doing the replacement, maintenance, financing, and designing of the bridge. Bridges will be replaced faster while saving money, according to PennDOT.

If you would like to learn more about the  Rapid Bridge Replacement Project and P3, you can visit P3forPA.pa.gov and PARapidBridges.com.

Wrong Way Ramp Sign Project Starts on Route 15 June 6th, Ramp Shoulder Closures Expected

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, a wrong way ramp sign project begins on Monday, June 6th, on Route 15.

The project will affect several locations on Route 15 from the Third Street Interchange in Williamsport to the Route 49 Interchange located in Tioga County. The following work will be done: signing, pavement markings, delineators, and other construction work. There will be ramp shoulder closures in effect throughout the duration of the project. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of July.

The project costs $180,000. The prime contractor is Morgan Rail, Inc. As always, drivers should be extra aware when driving in work zone areas.

 

PA Autonomous Vehicles Testing Policy Task Force Created

penndotOn Wednesday, June 1st, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Leslie S. Richards along with other transportation officials discussed the subject of autonomous vehicles being developed in the Commonwealth at the first meeting of the new Autonomous Vehicles Testing Policy Task Force.

Richards issued the following statement, “We are always looking at ways to make travel safer, and these new vehicle technologies offer a huge opportunity to not only advance our network, but also reduce human behavior as a factor in crashes… We’re looking forward to expanding on the innovation that’s already alive and well here in Pittsburgh so companies can test their technologies in our state’s varied seasons and roadway types.”

The first meeting of the Autonomous Vehicles Testing Policy Task Force was held in Pittsburgh. Along with PennDOT, the Autonomous Vehicles Testing Policy Task Force will write guidelines that PennDOT will reference when it writes policy on autonomous vehicles. The task force includes officials at the state, federal, and private-industry level. PennDOT is leading the task force, while Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), the Federal Highway Administration, Uber Technologies, and AAA are task force members. Carnegie Mellon University said its students and faculty have worked on the safety and affordability of self-driving cars for over three decades. Fourteen generations of self-driving vehicles were made by the university. Their newest self-driving vehicle is a 2011 Cadillac SRX. The vehicle is able to  merge onto highways, take ramps, and cruise at 70 mph on its own. In addition, the university has made important AV technology invention contributions.

Lawmakers attended the event as well. The lawmakers who attended support legislation in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the Pennsylvania Senate that would make Pennsylvania a leader in the United States in regards to testing autonomous vehicles.

Senator Randy Vulakovich (R) made the following statement, “I am delighted to see Pittsburgh and CMU taking a leadership role in autonomous vehicles and hope today’s event shows our commitment to supporting this ground breaking research. The work being done at CMU is a source of pride for not only Pittsburgh, but the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania… By working with all of the stake holder groups, I believe SB 1268 will foster innovation while at the same time ensure the safety of motorists on our public roads.”

The legislation would include the following:

Provide for controlled automated vehicle testing, not operation;
Allow flexibility to adapt to changing technology;
Require companies interested in testing to submit an application and provide proof of $5 million in general liability insurance; and
Allow support for in-vehicle and remote-operator testing, considered the “Full Self-Driving Automation” level, the fourth and highest level of automation as defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Senator Wayne Fontana (D) said the following, “Pittsburgh being chosen as one of the seven finalists out of nearly 80 cities that applied for the [U.S. Department of Transportation’s] Smart City Challenge is a testament to the innovation happening in the region. Pennsylvania as a whole has a lot to offer and my hopes are that the introduction of SB 1268 will help universities and companies that are testing these vehicles of the future feel welcomed in the commonwealth and inspire future generations.”

Senator Jay Costa (D) said the following, “The concept of autonomous cars is something many of us never thought we’d be discussing in our lifetime…. What’s exciting to me is that right here in Pittsburgh, we’re in the center of where this innovation is happening at places like Google, Uber and most importantly, here at Carnegie Mellow University. Innovation brings growth and will have a lasting impact on our communities. As we move forward, we’re not only testing the concept of autonomous vehicles, we’re growing jobs and driving economic development in our communities.”

Senator John Rafferty (R), who is the Senate Transportation Committee Chairman, said the following, “Autonomous and connected vehicles will be integrated in the next generation of our transportation system… One of the primary reasons for Senate Bill 1268 is to test the incorporation of this advanced technology on our roadways that provides for safety, mobility, innovation and economic development.”

Senator John Wozniak (D) said the following, “Autonomous and connected vehicles offer a promising glimpse into the future of our transportation system… I’m proud that Pennsylvania is one of the states leading the development of this cutting edge technology. However, it’s important that the public knows these cars are safe and SB 1268 addresses those concerns while at the same time allowing Pennsylvania to stay competitive in this field for years to come.”

Representative Jim Marshall (R), who is the House Subcommittee Chairman for Transportation Safety, said the following “With matters of public safety, we must be proactive, not reactive. This important legislation will get Pennsylvania out in front of this new and evolving technology.” Marshall is sponsoring autonomous vehicle legislation.