Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Widening Ingomar Rd. Tops North Park Plan

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Widening Ingomar Rd. Tops North Park Plan

Article excerpt

Betsy Stewart occasionally looked over her shoulder as she walked along Ingomar Road in North Park.

She was keeping an eye out for cars approaching behind her. She and her husband, Bill Ranii, were traveling clockwise on the five- mile path through Allegheny County's largest park on a recent sunny afternoon. The couple are from Blawnox.

They and thousands of other walkers and bicyclists who use the park's Lake Trail each month must share their route with motor vehicles.

Along Babcock Boulevard there are sidewalks and a separate path for cyclists, while Lake Shore Drive has north and south bike lanes. But along Pearce Mill, Kummer and Ingomar roads there is a single path of varying width. The trail is most narrow along busy Ingomar Road.

A new master plan for the 650-acre area around North Park's signature lake calls for a $2.9 million upgrade to the Ingomar Road portion of the Lake Trail. It would create a wider shoulder with room for a 6- to 8-foot bike lane and a separate 8- to 10-foot pedestrian path between Babcock Boulevard and Kummer Road.

The widening of Ingomar Road is one of the first four priority projects recommended in the lake-area master plan.

Their total price tag is $3.2 million. The document, released last week, was prepared for the Allegheny County Parks Foundation by GAI Consultants Inc.

The study was funded by the county and the parks foundation with grants from several other foundations. The parks foundation was set up in 2007 to support and raise money for the county's 11,000-acre park system.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said the county was committed to carrying out the Ingomar Road project quickly. His announcement of support pleased Cathy Haberman of Franklin Park, who was walking along the Babcock Boulevard portion of the trail with her friend Leslie Curl of Cranberry.

"You have to stay aware of the traffic," Ms. Haberman said. As a result, she more often follows a counterclockwise loop during her once-a-week visits to the park.

That allows her to face traffic when she is walking on Ingomar Road.

The more than 250 people who responded to an online questionnaire listed widening the Lake Trail to improve safety as their top priority, according to the study. …

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