Council members call for pedestrian-friendly measures

The city continues to work on making it easier to access the Susquehanna River Walk for those wearing sneakers and on bicycles and getting on the path from the city side.

“We need to try to provide better access from the Central Business District to the river walk,” said John Grado, city engineer and director of community and economic development.

Grado responded Friday after Councilman Jonathan Williamson and Councilwoman Liz Miele Thursday night called on him, planners and roadway designers to consider pedestrians and bicyclists in their blueprints.

“There has to be a safer way to cross Via Bella,” Williamson said. He described the challenge to cross the traffic lanes with his bike.

“Generally speaking, it’s a good idea,” Grado said of exploring ideas brought up by Williamson, such as a sidewalk running along a two-lane road accessing a parking lot off Hepburn Street leading to the bike path.

“We’ve also had discussion about (a traffic circle) a-round-about at Hepburn and Via Bella and that is something the city would like to pursue in discussions with the county and state Department of Transportation,” Grado said.

Miele said bicyclists’ needs should be included in design upgrades for the Pathway to Health, too. That’s a corridor improvement project to provide faster access for emergency vehicles heading to and from the Williamsport Regional Medical Center, between Interstate 180 and the hospital.

The county has explored different corridors to continue the path and enter the Susquehanna State Park, Grado said.

The design includes looking at ways to connect to the path via West Third Street and the Lycoming Creek area, Grado said.

“We have an opportunity to look at pedestrian walkability and add bikeability features,” he said.