Walkway to park a natural extension to infrastructure

ravo to Woodward Township for reviving plans to build a walkway between the Jay Street-Veterans Memorial Bridge and Riverview Park.

As first proposed a number of years ago by the Woodward Township Recreation Committee, the walkway is a natural extension to the recreation infrastructure on both the City of Lock Haven and township sides of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.

A safe, separated walkway along Farrandsville Road to the park from the bridge makes sense, and we hope it can make economic sense, too.

It’s a next logical improvement to our unique city-township waterfront and certainly fits well with plans for a public boat dock on the city side of the river.

Do we hear “waterfront comprehensive plan” involving the township and city somewhere? (Boat launch and park playground equipment improvements are in the works with grant applications.)

The Riverwalk is a busy place in warmer weather months.

Imagine starting at Piper Memorial Park at the lower end, or Lock Haven University at the upper end, and being able to walk the length of the levee and then across the bridge to the park via a separated walkway between Riverview and the bridge.

More than a decade ago, the walkway project was born with proposed improvements — re-alignment and widening — of Farrandsville Road from the bridge to the university athletic fields.

The idea was to build a walkway from the bridge to the park, then from the park to the fields so that joggers, walkers, bicyclists and hikers would have a safe avenue along a very windy Farrandsville Road.

The township began lobbying for the project.

County and area transportation officials got behind it.

Engineering studies were done.

A proposed realignment was drawn up that impacted some of Riverview Park

Right-of-way acquisition then got in the way.

So did a lack of state funding.

An increase in the state’s wholesale tax on gasoline to fund more road and bridge projects in Pennsylvania came and went.

Transportation officials in more recent years said the walkway and road re-alignment did not rise to the level of priority versus various highway repaving and bridge reconstruction projects necessary for safe travel.

Has anything changed?

Perhaps.

We hear a state transportation grant is being discussed for the walkway and Farrandsville Road would not be realigned, only resurfaced.

By the way, is PennDOT mandated to spend even a minimal amount of its overall infrastructure spending on recreation-related projects?

Should it be?

“Yes” is our opinion.

We’re told a more formal discussion on the walkway will take place at a “PennDOT Connects” meeting with the township supervisors in early March.

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