John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Newtown Creek Coalition Proposes a NEW Pedestrian Bridge to Supervisors

Newtown Creek Coalition Proposes a NEW Pedestrian Bridge to Supervisors

At the September 16, 2019, "Work Session" meeting of the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors, Mike Sellers, a member of the Newtown Creek Coalition, invited the Township to join in a project to construct a pedestrian bridge over the Newtown Creek in a partnership with the Borough of Newtown and the Coalition.

The prospective site for the bridge would connect Sycamore Street in Newtown Township with Frost Lane in Newtown Borough (see the map below).

The project, as it was explained to me in a personal tour of the site, would include an elevated walkway from Edgeboro Drive to the actual bridge. This is necessary because there is a storm water drainage ditch that runs from Edgeboro Drive to the Creek.

Concept of the project as envisioned by John Mack. NOT the official plan.

Mr. Sellers also said the proposed bridge would connect the current ends of the Newtown Trail System, and provide a vital link for the regional trail system. However, as shown in the map above, the Newtown Trail ends at Andrew Drive and Frost Lane. It is impossible for pedestrians and even bicyclists to walk or cycle safely on Frost Lane from that point to the proposed bridge entrance at Edgeboro Road.

There are other bridges over the creek that allow pedestrians to cross. So, why is another bridge needed or desired?

Mr. Sellers pointed out that these other bridges – including the nearby bridge at Jefferson Street – only have one-sided pedestrian crossings. "It's particularly difficult for bikers, walkers, or for people with strollers to get across," said Sellers.

A Resolution

Mr. Sellers requested that Newtown Township pass a Resolution drafted by the Coalition by which the Board of Supervisors of Newtown Township "finds the concept of a proposes pedestrian bridge over the Newtown Creek has merit Warranting further investigation." The proposed Resolution further says "that authorization is hereby given for staff and professionals of Newtown Township to participate in the exploration of the requirements for such a project, including available funding sources."

After Newtown Township passes this Resolution, Mr. Sellers said that he would present the proposal and a similar Resolution to the Newtown Borough Council for its approval. The plan is to have the two municipalities work jointly on the project.

Who Pays For This?

First, there are the fees that the Township must pay to its "professionals" (e.g. Township Engineer) to "explore the requirements" for the project. Then, there is the cost of the project itself, which would be split between the Township and the Borough. Mr. Sellers pointed out that the major portion of the real estate involved is in Newtown Township and also the most expensive part – the bridge itself. Consequently, according to Mr. Sellers, Newtown would be responsible for the majority of costs involved. But he did not give the Supervisors any estimate for those costs.

What Do You Think?

The Board of Supervisors did not make any decisions at the Working Session. Consequently, Mr. Sellers is scheduled to come before the Board at its next regular public meeting on September 25, 2019, to present his proposal again so that a formal vote can be made regarding the resolution he put forward.

Understanding that many residents may not be able to make this meeting, I invite you to respond to my online questionnaire to give me your opinion of this proposal. All responses will be confidential unless you give permission to use your name.

Access the Questionnaire Here

You can also listen to Mr. Sellers' September 16, 2019, 16 minute presentation below:

Posted on 21 Sep 2019, 01:48 - Category: Development

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The opinions expressed here are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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