The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

January 30, 2013

Upper Yoder mulling sidewalk plan

Frank Sojak
fsojak@tribdem.com

JOHNSTOWN — The Upper Yoder Township supervisors say they will decide at their next regular meeting, on Feb. 21, whether to allow Penn­DOT to install a sidewalk on Goucher Street between the Allegheny Lutheran Home and the Westmont borough line.

PennDOT officials outlined plans for the Goucher Street Wheel and Walkway Project at

a special meeting Wednesday night at the township building.

PennDOT will pay the entire cost of building the sidewalk, but the township would have to maintain the walkway, which measures a little less than a mile.

Alice Hammond, PennDOT’s special project manager for the proposed Goucher Street Safety Improvement Project in Westmont and Westwood, said Penn­DOT would be able to fund the Upper Yoder project with funds acquired through the Westmont-Westwood project.

Township Chairman Edward Barzeski said the proposed sidewalk sounds like a good concept, but in reality the taxpayers would be required to foot the bill of maintaining it.

The township would have to invest in equipment and manpower to maintain the sidewalk in the winter because without a sidewalk ordinance, the township, not the residents, is the responsible party, Barzeski said.

Supervisor Robert Amistadi said he is concerned about the impact on residents if equipment such as utility poles would have to be relocated.

Amistadi and fellow Supervisors Scott Hunt and William Huston want to get more information to see how it would affect residents before making a decision.

Huston and Hunt also are concerned about the dangers to wheelchair-bound students at the nearby Hiram G. Andrews Center who use that route to go to Westwood. They are concerned that the steep grade of Keppler’s Dip would be dangerous for wheelchair users. They also asked who would be liable if a wheelchair were involved in an accident.

Vince Greenland, PennDOT’s assistant district executive for design, said township officials have valid concerns about Keppler’s Dip but that sidewalks on hills have been in use in the Johnstown area for years. But, he asked, what if the sidewalk isn’t built and someone gets hurt on Keppler’s Dip?

 

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