We sat down with Ashley Tracy, PE, PTOE, AICP, who worked on the traffic and planning elements of this study and asked her some questions about what made this work unique.
Tell us a little bit about what the project is and who it benefits.
The Route 28 Regional Corridor Study covers the 40-mile corridor along Route 28 from Kittanning to Interstate 80 through Armstrong, Jefferson, and Clarion Counties, PA. The purpose of the study is to identify areas of concern and recommend projects to improve safety and mobility, support economic development, and account for community desires.
What about the project highlights McCormick Taylor’s talents?
Getting down to specific improvements on such a long corridor can be a challenge. We leveraged our planning, design, and public involvement expertise to find those specific areas of concern, so we could make actionable recommendations. We also flexed our GIS skills in interesting ways, such as assessing roadway grades and visualizing travel patterns from Streetlight data.
Have you come across any challenges or concerns while working on this project?
COVID-19 was a curveball in the middle of the study, but we were fortunate to have completed our field observations and stakeholder meetings before the shutdown. We transitioned our Steering Committee meetings online and completed the study virtually. I think it worked out well!
Does the project have any unique aspects?
The corridor is situated uniquely since it spans three counties. We worked with three planning organizations on the study (SPC, North Central RPO, and Northwest RPO) to develop improvement concepts to address concern areas within each of their regions.
What’s your favorite part of the project?
I was happy that we accounted for pedestrian and bicycle elements in this study. We knew that a “one size fits all” approach for the corridor would not work in communities like New Bethlehem with its robust sidewalk network, Redbank Valley High School, and the Redbank Valley Trail. I am also excited about the emphasis on systematic and spot safety improvements along the corridor, as safety was a top priority of the public and stakeholders.