State funds pave way for urban and riverside trail improvements | Pittsburgh City Paper

State funds pave way for urban and riverside trail improvements

A batch of state funding announced today spells good news for both urban pedestrians and outdoor trail enthusiasts across Pittsburgh and the Mon Valley.

In Versailles, a $100,000 grant from the Commonwealth Finance Authority has been earmarked for “removing debris, including reclaimed asphalt and brick, and addressing invasive and nonnative vegetation,” along a stretch of the existing riverside trail system.

A statement from State Rep. Austin Davis’ office says the funds awarded to the borough will support the third phase of improvements underway at the trail system. After the rehabilitation work is complete, the trails will also be fitted with benches, bike stands, and native plantings, according to the release.

“I’m pleased to see funding that will help clean up an area that’s accumulated piles of trash and other debris over the past few decades,” Davis says in a release. “This is an effort to bring back some of the natural beauty near the trail and make it a more welcoming space for more people to enjoy the outdoors.”

A few miles north, another chunk of CFA funding has been assigned to ongoing efforts to develop a “living street” for shuffling pedestrians, cars, or bicyclists between Pittsburgh’s Homewood and Larimer neighborhoods.

The $250,000 CFA grant announced today will go toward the construction of “an eight-foot protected two-way bicycle lane between Bakery Square Boulevard and Rainbow Street,” according to a release from State Rep. Martell Covington’s office.

The funds will also support safety mechanisms and an eight-foot rain garden, the release states.

Covington says the end goal, envisioned as a 1.5-mile connector between two underinvested neighborhoods, will improve living standards for residents.

“The Greenway Extension’s purpose is to connect residents with assets that will improve their quality of life,” he says in the release. “The planned improvements for this road have been desired by the community ever since the announcement of this project, and it is great to see this project get a continuation of funding.”