Biking, hiking trails top priorities for Pine officials
Top projects on Pine's wish list for the next decade include separate biking and hiking trails to connect Pine-Richland High School and Middle School to Pine Community Park.
The two trails are part of the township's new 10-year comprehensive plan, and could make it easier for some students to walk or bike to school.
“I think it's premature to think about how those trails might be used, but to be able to provide a safe connection for people, whether they're on bikes or walking, either for recreation or to be able to come to school, I think all of that is positive, because it promotes a healthy mindset,” said Brian Miller, superintendent of the Pine-Richland School District.
Pine supervisors unanimously voted to adopt the comprehensive plan at their Feb. 16 meeting.
“It gives us tasks we can work on for the next 10 years,” said Larry Kurpakus, director of code administration and land development for the township. Specific items could be incorporated each year into the township budget, he said.
The Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code mandates municipalities to update their comprehensive plans every 10 years. Pine officials adopted Pine's last comprehensive plan in 2003.
The new plan proposes two separate trails — one for hiking and another for bikes and pedestrians — that would link the high school and middle school campuses to the Pearce Mill Road entrance to Pine Community Park.
“The hiking trail is planned primarily through township open space, and the bicycle-pedestrian route is a combination of (existing) sidewalks and asphalt trails that follow Warrendale and Pearce Mill roads,” Kurpakus explained in an email.
The comprehensive plan also lists new gateway signs at Pine's borders among top-priority projects.
Proposed, top-priority projects in Pine Community Park include construction of new restrooms near the multipurpose field along Pearce Mill Road, plus construction of a pavilion near the park's lake.
The plan also calls for planting many trees in the park, and along state routes and township greenways.
Pashek Associates, a North Side-based landscape architecture and community planning firm, received $105,000 to complete the approximately 500-page plan, which also incorporates a new 10-year plan for the parks system.
To help pay for the dual plan, Pine received a $30,000 Allegheny Places Municipal Planning Grant from Allegheny County and a $30,000 Partnership Program Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' Bureau of Recreation and Conservation.
Work on the plan began at a July 23 public meeting to gather residents' suggestions. A 10-member steering committee met multiple times in subsequent months with Pashek Associates representatives.
Local organizations including Rich-Mar Rotary Club, along with the Pine Township Planning Commission and a group of Pine-Richland High School students, also met with Pashek Associates.
“I really appreciated the opportunity to participate on the steering committee,” Miller said. “The opportunity to really discuss the region and the connection between the schools and the township, I found to be very positive.”
Deborah Deasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-772-6369 or [email protected].