Catasauqua Press

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Catasauqua council hears presentation on new trail system

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Councilwoman Christine Weaver presented a PowerPoint presentation on hiking and biking trails in and around Catasauqua during the Jan. 7 borough council meeting. The program was spearheaded by North Catasauqua Council President Peter Paone. This project is properly named THE LINK Trail Network.

The crux of Paone’s presentation was a look at the residential development at Willowbrook that cuts the size of the golf course in half and adds 150 new homes.

“This is the last development in North Catasauqua,” Paone said.

From that development springs the concept of developing alternative transportation methodologies to accommodate the increased residential transportation load and improve the quality of life.

The D&L, Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, has partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Lehigh Valley Greenways, Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, Discover Lehigh Valley, Wildlands Conservancy, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Northampton and Lehigh counties to work with the different areas in the Valley on properly developing their sections of the trail.

Part of the plan is to improve the D&L as it passes through Catasauqua and North Catasauqua. For example, adding kayak and boat ramps at North Catasauqua’s river access points supports recreational activity.

The area along Front Street has a high concentration of “zero-vehicle” households. The program wants these residents to be able to bike and walk safely to their jobs.

In other business, council heard complaints of trucks hauling down Howertown Road and sneaking down side streets to avoid heavy traffic needs.

“It’s not an easy problem. You can’t just pass an ordinance and expect that the problem gets solved,” Police Chief Douglas Kish said.

The state has passed laws that allow trucks on any state road. Local truck restrictions can be factored in, but the restrictions must be generated at the local level.

State and local officials designed the grant-supported state Transportation Improvement Program as a 12-program plan to address the increase in traffic. Connecting the Lehigh Valley with a network of bicycle and hiking trails is part of the overall plan.

The D&L was conceived as a recreational trail to serve as a link from Philadelphia to White Haven. Sections, like those in Catasauqua and North Catasauqua, need work. An additional concern is that the D&L is not paved, which may make long treks difficult. The D&L can serve as a good thoroughfare and connect to other trails like the Ironton Rail Trail. In Bethlehem, you can connect to the Greenway and the Saucon Valley trail.

A meeting was held Feb. 6 in North Catasauqua to address THE LINK and provided area residents the opportunity to share their thoughts and suggestions.