Allegheny County grant will help Aspinwall improve Freeport Road safety
A $12,750 grant from Allegheny County is expected to help Aspinwall council study ways to improve safety along Freeport Road for pedestrians and bikers.
The borough received the grant from the county’s Active Allegheny program, made available through the Redevelopment Authority.
“This isn’t meant to implement bike lanes, rather improve safety for all of us who cross Freeport Road,” Councilman Mark Ellermeyer said.
Ellermeyer, who cited the lack of bus shelters and crosswalks on Freeport Road, spearheaded the grant application to help council seek ways to improve safety.
“I hope this grant to study the existing conditions of Freeport Road and identify safety deficiencies will be the first step towards the borough and PennDOT providing as safe a circumstance as we possibly can,” he said.
Borough Manager Melissa Lang-O’Malley said the grant will be used to help engineers identify problems along Freeport Road, which is the main corridor through the borough.
Freeport Road is owned by PennDOT and connects the borough with The Waterworks, Route 28 and neighboring communities of O’Hara, Blawnox and Sharpsburg.
Engineer-identified problems could be used by council to approach PennDOT with plans for change, Ellermeyer said. That could include a reduction in the 35 mph speed limit.
The initiative will increase access for pedestrians and cyclists to the Three Rivers Heritage Trail — planned to reach Aspinwall Riverfront Park by way of the proposed Riverfront 47 development project — while also providing a means for safe pedestrian and cycling travel along the corridor, O’Malley said.
Safe connections will be studied from the park to Freeport Road, across the Highland Park Bridge to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, to Lawrenceville and beyond.
Accessibility upgrades would benefit residents of Aspinwall but also those in O’Hara, Sharpsburg and Fox Chapel, O’Malley said.
“This population is of all ages and fitness levels who may be seeking increased opportunities for recreation or exercise, or they may be interested in connecting with areas beyond ours,” she said. “This will also include the many cyclists who currently commute to work.”
The borough’s cost toward the study will be about $2,000.