Buffalo Valley Rail Trail
Planning meeting for the trail extension, photo provided by Katie Davis

Grant Helps Plan Trail Extension

Newsletter Feature - March 2013

Each month learn about a local project being funded through the Susquehanna Greenway Mini-Grant Program that is helping to build the Greenway and connect people to the Susquehanna River. The program is funded in part by the PA Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources.

How do you get cyclists and walkers safely across a river when an old railroad bridge, narrow streets, traffic, and other aspects of the built environment complicate a great idea?

Community partners have banded together in the river town of Lewisburg to solve this issue, which is anything but pedestrian. With a $5,000 SGP Mini-Grant representatives of the Lewisburg Area Recreation Authority (LARA), Bucknell University Civil Engineering students, and Larson Design Group of Williamsport (LDG) are developing a conceptual design for the remaining phase of the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail (BVRT) to extend the trail from 5th Street to the river, and across the West Branch.

“LARA is very excited to have Bucknell University and Larson Design Group collaborating to complete this project," says Katie Davis, Executive Director with LARA. "We are thankful that both the Lewisburg Borough and East Buffalo Township are in support of getting the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail through Lewisburg and to the river. Having a trail to the river will enhance and benefit the community so much.”

The students and professional engineers are currently focusing on a conceptual design, which will include maps and illustrations, and will incorporate input from Representatives from Union County, Lewisburg Borough, Lewisburg’s Downtown Partnership, the Lewisburg Elm Street Project, the BVRT Committee and East Buffalo Township. 

Once the conceptual design, contracted under a $5,000 Mini-Grant from the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership with the support of the Pennsylvania DCNR, is completed, LARA hopes that it will not only build support for the future extension, but will serve as a platform from which they can pursue funding opportunities to fully design and construct the trail.

In January, the Bucknell students met with LDG professionals and representatives of the advisory organizations for a kick-off meeting. "The opportunity of having civil engineering students work on a real world, local project such as the rail trail extension is truly
invaluable," said Bucknell University professor Michelle Oswald. "The senior design capstone project involves planning and designing a facility that includes multiple areas of civil engineering while addressing social, economic, and environmental issues. The extension is an ideal project that allows them to work in the field, meet with local governing bodies, and design a plan that can be used for future development." 

Currently the students are getting ready to begin a door-to-door outreach to the trail extension neighbors, and will be distributing flyers with public meeting dates and basic project information.  

For the St. John’s street traffic and trail flow, three conceptual designs are being created. They will be presented by Larson Design and Bucknell Students to the public in the near future. 

At the next meeting, the students plan to focus on further review of the preliminary design section from Route 15 to Market Street.

Visit the BVRT website:  http://bvrt.org

Learn about LARA:  www.golara.org