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Embrace Millcreek, the Township’s adopted comprehensive plan, clearly articulates the community’s vision for the West 8th Street corridor. This vision includes stakeholder consensus around creating a ‘Main Street’ feel that accommodates all modes of travel – driving, transit, biking, and walking. Placing parking to the side or rear of buildings rather than between the building and the street reduces conflicts between pedestrians and motorists. It also provides opportunities for landscaping as well as activities such as outdoor eating and sitting areas. Parking is important but it doesn’t need to be front and center.
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Limited right-of-way width along with required lane configuration and widths make designated accommodations for bicyclists a challenge along W 8th Street at present. If an access management strategy can be implemented to the point where the center turn lane is deemed unnecessary the street could be re-striped to include a 5-foot bike lane in each direction. In the interim, shared lane markings or “sharrows” could be considered. Speed limit, traffic volume, lane width and other physical characteristics are factors when considering shared use lanes. These should be considered during the implementation phase.
The north side of the street includes back-in angled on-street parking to serve local businesses. This type will maximize the number of spaces in order to help offset the loss of private parking that was encroaching the right-of-way near Colony Plaza. Although parallel parking was also considered it would result in significantly fewer parking spaces. Pull-in angled parking was also considered but because it requires drivers to back out into traffic when leaving it was not the preferred configuration.
The answer to this question goes hand-in-hand with the answer to why parking is shown behind or to the side of buildings. Requiring the parking to be placed to the side or to the rear of buildings requires moving the buildings closer to the sidewalk. This creates opportunities for safer pedestrian connections from the building entrances to the sidewalk along the street. It also provides better exposure for businesses and other building tenants. It places the focus on people and businesses rather than cars and parking.
No, the Presque Isle Gateway District Plan does not say anything about specific businesses unless a specific business is currently encroaching on the public right-of-way on W 8th Street.
Protected bike lanes require additional space to physically separate bikes from automobile traffic. In many cases, the existing right-of-way are not wide enough to accommodate required travels lanes, comfortable sidewalks, and separated bikes lanes. A multi-use trail was considered for Peninsula Drive and W 6th Street but is viewed as a long-term solution due to cost and other factors.
The Township has already applied for, and in some cases received, grant funding to implement portions of the plan. The benefit of plans such as this and Embrace Millcreek is that they demonstrate to funding agencies that requests for grants will go to implement a larger vision. Millcreek will continue to seek assistance from local, state, and federal funding agencies to leverage any investment it may make.
Roundabouts are often safer than traditional signalized intersections. The tight circle of a roundabout forces drivers to slow down, and the most severe types of intersection crashes - right-angle, left-turn, and head-on collisions - are unlikely. In addition, the center of the circle provides an opportunity for a gateway feature such as a sign or public art. Once accustomed to using a roundabout, many people prefer them because they keep traffic moving.
This plan does not propose any changes to Presque Isle State Park. The Park is owned by the Commonwealth and is under the jurisdictional control of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).