Cranberry Township gets grant to provide bike racks

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Cranberry's effort to provide options when it comes to getting around town have been accelerated by a grant that will be used to buy bicycle racks.

"The ultimate goal is to create a community that is friendly to bicyclists and pedestrians, and this will help in that effort," said Joe Shafer, a community planner for the township.

The Alcoa Foundation, on behalf of Alcoa Cranberry announced the award Nov. 25 of a $20,000 grant to the township to install bike racks at 14 locations.

The township submitted the "parks and racks" grant application in May and notification of the award was received in October.

"This money will almost entirely cover the cost of the project," Mr. Shafer said, noting that Butler County Tourism and Promotion Bureau also pledged $1,500 toward the work, and the township will cover a $1,600 balance.

A network of interconnected bicycle and pedestrian pathways was visualized in Cranberry's long-range comprehensive plan, adopted in 2009.

Since that time, under the umbrella of CycleCT, Cranberry has established approximately 7.4 miles of bicycle paths and road-sharing routes in the township. Installing bike racks within the parks as part of that network was a priority recommendation in the bicycle-pedestrian section of the long-range plan.

In addition to installing the racks in the three major municipal parks, the deteriorating racks at the township's Rochester Road municipal center and skate park will be replaced. Each rack can secure up to five bicycles.

The plan is to begin installation at the end of March.

Township crews will install the racks. The project cost involves purchase of the racks and materials for the concrete pads where the racks will be located.

The powder-coated metal racks will be bolted into the concrete pads and have a cranberry color scheme. Contributors to the project will be recognized with either stamped pavers or plaques at each rack site.

The ultimate plan is to extend the program beyond publicly owned property to businesses.

"We'd like to work with private businesses so residents have the option of biking [to the business centers of the township]," Mr. Shafer said.

Municipal officials are using the township website's business community page to solicit contributions for the racks.

The township's zoning ordinance requires commercial businesses of 5,000 square feet or more that are in main business and mixed-use corridors to install bike racks.

But the ordinance doesn't apply to businesses outside the corridors that were in existence before the zoning requirements went into effect.

A bike rack costs about $655. The concrete pad costs about $1,100.

Karen Kane: kkane@post-gazette.com or 724-772-9180.


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