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Chester County Press

Engineers share plans for proposed State Road sidewalk project

08/01/2017 01:57PM ● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
Staff Writer

Before a small gathering of local residents, members of McMahon Transportation Engineers & Planners shared plans for a proposed sidewalk project in West Grove that, if agreed to by the township, will construct a sidewalk along the south side of State Road, and be completed in two phases.
As part of a special meeting of the London Grove Township Board of Supervisors held on July 26, the project team of Stephen Giampaolo, John Tyson and Dan Wanger gave a presentation that board chairman Richard Scott-Harper emphasized is "still in the investigative stage."
If it's built, the sidewalk project would be completed in two phases. The first phase would include the construction of a sidewalk extending from Route 841-Wickerton Road to the corner of Schoolhouse Road and State Road. The second phase would create a sidewalk from Schoolhouse Road to the Church of the Nazarene, and would also include the possibility of adding a sidewalk along Rosehill Road and Schoolhouse Road.
Giampaolo broke down the planned project in terms of purpose and need. A sidewalk, he said, would create a safe and continuous pedestrian access route in the area, and serve as a connector between Avon Grove High School, the surrounding neighborhoods and Goddard Park and its trail system. Creating a new pedestrian network could then lead to the construction of more sidewalks throughout the township.
"Several municipalities emphasize the need for multi-modal sidewalk projects, that incorporate both pedestrian and bicycle lanes," Giampaolo said. "There's criteria that will help design the sidewalk. It's a classic retro-fit project, and not one being built by a developer who creates a housing development and constructs a sidewalk as part of it."
Giampaolo said that this firm recommends two options, that both include the construction of a five-foot-wide sidewalk. One option would also include a one-foot offset on the street side and a one-foot buffer on the property side. The other option would include a three-foot grass buffer on the property side and a one-foot buffer on the street side. Depressed curbs and driveway aprons would also be constructed at all driveways.
Giampaolo said that several factors will be considered in the proposed construction, including the need for additional drainage, the re-placement of mailboxes and utilities, maximizing sight distance at all cross streets, creating right-of-way easements and providing for landscape restoration.
Giampaolo said that if the project is undertaken, the road will will remain accessible to traffic.
With the preliminary engineering design of the project completed, the plan now is to secure grant funding, which McMahon will do in collaboration with the township. The final design and the timeline of construction, Giampaolo said, will be dependent upon the source of the funding -- whether it be from federal or state (PennDOT) money.
Scott-Harper said at this stage, the township is not looking to fund the project.
"I am counting on getting funding," he said. "That's the best solution to me. If we don't [obtain funding], we will face that decision when we get there. We have saved a lot of money over the past five or six years, and we've been stockpiling that so that we can do some capital projects, but we haven't gotten the final price tag on this yet."
While the project, if approved, is not likely to cost local homeowners anything if funding is secured, some in the audience asked if the inclusion of a sidewalk would increase or decrease the property values of  homes affected by the project.
"I'm not a realtor, but I would think that adding a safety feature to your property and to the neighborhood would improve the property value," said supervisor Dave Connors.
Giampaolo said that an optimal timeline for the project is to bid it out for construction during the winter.
"Once we get the contractor on board and get signed contracts, these guys are ready to go in March," he said. "They should be able to get this done by the end of [next] summer. Once we get final design, that's when we analyze the project, look at the quantity of concrete needed, and how much manpower is going to be needed."
Scott-Harper told the audience that discussions to create a sidewalk along State Road began a few years ago, when the township first applied for a grant, which he said was rejected.
"In our workings [with] intergovernmental people, they told us that 'if you really want to do something like that, you have to have some engineering plans,'" he said. "McMahon seemed to be the one that we thought was most qualified, and had the most experience in applying for grant money."
"The thing that municipalities need to do is create a project that has a purpose and a need, but also can fit within a certain budget that's attractive to those who review these grant applications," Giampaolo said.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email

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