After starting off the meeting with a cheery rendition of "Happy Birthday to You", directed at Supervisor Thomas Neafcy, the Limerick Township Board of Supervisors got a detailed look at the the proposed final Master Plan for a trail network in Limerick Township.
The planning has been going on for quite some time, and several draft plans have been presented to the board by Simone Collins Landscape Architects and a Citizens Advisory Council comprised of members of the Planning Commission and the Parks and Recreation, Open Space, and Streetscapes and Buffering Committees. Architects Peter Simone and Justin Keller from Simone Collins Landscape Architects made the presentation.
The plan defines several parts to the project.
One part was classifying the users of the different types of trails. In addition to walkers, joggers and other pedestrians and vehicles, the advisory council defined three types of cyclists.
Type A, advanced cyclists, are adult cyclists who are comfortable riding on roads and are able to act like a vehicle; Type B, basic cyclists, are adults who will ride for fun but are not as comfortable riding in traffic; and Type C, child cyclists, are children who would be out riding with their parents and would not be alone, but would also still need access to the same destinations as the adults.
The trails have been priortized and divided into six types of trail. There are on- and off-road trails for the region and the township as well as sidewalks.
On-road trails would be delineated by signage indicating that cyclists use the road and by designating "Share the Road" areas.
Pennsylvania passed a law within the last year, according to architect Peter Simone, that says a car must give a bicyclist four feet of clearance.
Off-road trails would be created along several different paths and would be multi-use trails, using a gravel and dirt surface. They will be usable by pedestrians, bicyclists and other types of recreational uses.
The plan also calls for closing some of the "sidewalk to nowhere" gaps that occur all over the township.
Five trails have been prioritized for the earliest construction. These include an 11-mile bike loop in the northern part of the township; a 2-mile loop around the Kurylo Farm that will have a half-mile connector to Limerick Community Park; a 4.7-mile trail along Limerick Center Road; a 3.8 mile trail along the PECO right-of-way, following the electrical lines from Country Club Road to Sanatoga Road; and a 1.5-mile hiking trail from Royersford to Trinley Park and then down to Main Street in Linfield.
Supervisor Kara Shuler noted that Township Line Road can be dangerous, and asked Keller how they could make it safe from cyclists and pedestrians.
"It would be widened to accomodate an off-road trail where possible," Keller said.
Simone told the board that part of the master plan includes putting these trails and potential trails on the official township map so that they are noted for future development.
Resident Andrew Piasecki asked the board what they could do about people staying on the trail and not wandering into the backyards of people whose properties are along the trail.
Piasecki noted that his concern would be for any liability if someone comes onto a property and gets injured.
Simone told Piasecki that because it's private property, anyone on his property wihtout permission would be trespassing. Other than that, the liability is no more than if someone were to get hurt on your front sidewalk.
Several members of the Citizens Advisory Council thanked the board for being willing to work on the plan and get a trail system developed in the township.
Simone told the board that the next step is to get the trails on the master plan and then they will seek grant money and other funding to get the trail project started.
The whole project is very long-term - probably twenty years in total - but the board and the planning team hope to start the early phases of building sometime next year.
The full draft plan (143 pages, PDF) is available at the Limerick Township website.
The board voted to appoint Chris Miller as Auditor, Margaret Schweitzer as Special Projects Liaison for the Parks and Recreation Committee, and Donna Williams as a member of the Streetscape and Buffering Committee.
Supervisors Ken Sperring and Elaine DeWan told Patch they plan to run for re-election this year when their terms expire and will be running as a team.