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Monday, December 5, 2011

Ohio River Trail: Coraopolis - Monaca - Rochester - Beaver - Midland

Attended a meeting of the Ohio River Trail Council in Bridgewater that discussed various routes for the Ohio River Trail (ORT).

The southern portion connects Coraopolis and the Montour Trail to Monaca; the northern portion connects Monaca to Rochester, New Brighton, Fallston, Beaver, and west to the Ohio state line.

I got to meet Dr. Vincent Troia, Executive Chairman & CEO of the ORTC (Trail Council) along with several of the consultants working on the project.

An unexpected treat was the presence of Roy Weil, who along with his wife Mary Shaw were the 2004 recipients of REI's annual Stewards for the Environment award. I had the pleasure of meeting Mary Shaw in the spring, and now I've met Roy Weil. It was an honor to shake his hand.

The feasibility study for the southern portion of the ORT has been completed, and that project is now in design and funding phases. Tonight's meeting was about completing the feasibility study for the northern portion.

Sean Garrigan, a principal at trail design firm SGA which specializes in routing trails through industrial areas, gave a brief presentation and explained that the rationale for investing in the trail is twofold: quality of life and economic development. He mentioned a story where trail development infuenced a company's decision on where to place a new location.

In a response to an audience question about security concerns along a new trail route, Sean Garrigan described the demographics of trail users - generally upscale, affluent, and healthy - and the experience his firm has seen in other locations, where design decisions were able to mitigate concerns and there haven't been problems with trail security.

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