The Johnstown area has plenty of road and bike path miles. But the two never have officially had a space to share.
A local effort will change that in late August when the first “Share the Road” bike lane is added through Kernville, project planners say.
The city’s first designated biking lane would travel Somerset Street, which is only a bit more than a half-mile in length. But the colorful, eye-catching pathway would encourage bicycling downtown – and to work – and provide a cycling link from the Path of the Flood Trail’s downtown trailhead to the Jim Mayer Trail Sandyvale Gardens extension, Lift Johnstown’s Brad Clemenson said.
“The idea here is to connect what we have into a trail system,” Clemenson said. “Somerset Street is an obvious way to connect the Mayer Trail to the downtown and the Path of The Flood Trail. And we can do it easily and safely along a street that doesn’t receive a lot of traffic.”
The path will run parallel to the Stonycreek, and, eventually, past a riverfront park planned along Somerset Street.
Lift Johnstown is partnering with the city and the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown to bring the bike lane to life.
Hollidaysburg artist Michael Allison is developing a multi-colored design that will be stencilled at several points along the path. Every 60 feet or so, it will alternate with an iCity logo – a reference to the current economic development effort, Clemenson said.
Allison said he is creating a series of stencils for the design. As a project consultant, he’ll train and supervise a team of 50 or more UPJ students on Aug. 24 to ink the graphic to the street, he said.
“The best part about the stencils is that they’ll still be there afterward ... so as time goes on (the images) can be maintained and touched up,” he added.
“I’m all for murals or sculptures just about any place you can put them,” said Allison, noting he’s put artwork on asphalt before – in that case, for an amusement park.
“I think anything that serves to help draw attention to a city or neighborhood with something introducing a sense of fun like this is a terrific project,” he said.
Art Works board president and Bottle Works director Rosemary Pawlowski agreed, crediting planners for finding a creative way to tout the area’s outdoor recreation.
“I’m so happy art is being included in what people see around us in town here,” said Pawlowski. “This is going to be a wonderful addition to Johnstown.”
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