Walkable Warren aimed at downtown

In the coming months, Warren might become more walkable.

The Warren Parks & Recreation Commission gave its blessing during a Tuesday special meeting to a “Walkable Warren” concept laid out by Experience, Inc. Director Farley Wright and County Planner Dan Glotz.

The premise behind the project is to develop a walkable and bike-able trail network through the downtown Warren area that could draw people in, highlight what the city has to offer, and do so in a healthy way.

“It is a concept of establishing a main corridor that will bring non-motorized traffic in and out of Warren,” Wright explained. “It is self-guided and it is intended to not only promote healthy lifestyles but also assets the city has.”

And he believes Warren has assets.

“For a community this size, it is just amazing to me what Warren has to offer,” he said. “The wealth of historic buildings is amazing.”

And while the project has been bantered around for some time, some specifics are starting to emerge.

“We’re getting to the point now where we need to work this group and the city to come up with actual designated routing,” Wright said. “(We) need locations for trail heads, (informational) kiosks… much of the infrastructure is already in place.”

“There are a number of potential opportunities for different types of tours across the city,” said Glotz, who presented a proposed route to the Commission just to lay out what it could look like.

Focusing on side streets with low traffic volume, the trail would enter the city via the Bike/Hike Trail on East St.

Skipping across the Conewango to incorporate the Beaty Skate Park, the proposal continues back down East St. and behind the Market St. Plaza to get to the Allegheny Community Center and then use a right of way to get to Breeze Point Landing.

Betts Park would be incorporated via Pennsylvania Ave. to Poplar and down Fourth Ave. before cutting through west side side-streets to get to Betts.

Glotz explained that a secondary route would incorporate Crescent Park as well as the Oakland Cemetery due to its extensive history.

“This is just a starting point,” said Glotz. “Our plan is to try to link all of the (city) parks together as part of this network.

“We’re wanting to do this at a minimal cost, may amount to some signage,” he added. “Experience, Inc. has applied for money for kiosks. What we don’t want to do is approach the city to incur costs on this project. It can be self-supporting.”

“I think we’re all in support of it,” Commission Chairman Dennis Crandall said.

“The thing that Walkable Warren is doing,” Wright explained, is to push away “from the idea that a bike trail has to be disconnected” from the surrounding community. “We know what we have to offer and we are trying to let people see it. A lot of time it is a matter of just connecting the dots.”

The commission gave its unanimous recommendation to the project, which will now be pitched before City Council.