For the last several years, historic Kennett Square Borough has been undergoing a renaissance of sorts with the expansion of new employment centers, opening of new shops, restaurants, galleries and breweries all enhancing its small town charm. Borough housing renovations and real estate investment have also been on the rise, especially in the historic district. This has brought about a renewed sense of pride in the Borough as well as a desire for residents of all ages to have more pedestrian and bicycle friendly options within the community reducing vehicular trips and traffic congestion. Regional trails and bikeways have also expanded in recent years and the need for connectivity within the Borough and to neighboring communities has grown.
In 2017, the Borough received a state grant for their part of the Kennett Area Safer Active Transportation Routes project which proposed new bicycle and pedestrian facilities. The concept of the project involved connecting community assets like parks, schools and recreation facilities with safe pedestrian and bicycle routes using a grant amount of $915,000. The Borough contracted with G&A to work with Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) and PennDOT to prepare the necessary documents for approval and construction of the various bike lanes, sidewalks, ADA ramps, signage and traffic signal timing adjustments necessary to realize the improvements.
After a detailed assessment of the conceptual route (prepared by others) and meetings with the Borough, safety concerns were voiced by police and fire personnel regarding narrowness of some of the roads and bridges included in the route. G&A worked with the Borough to devise an alternate route that used wider paving widths on existing streets for dedicated on-street bike access and provides greater connectivity to community assets. The revised alternative was approved by DVRPC and PennDOT and will result in applying the grant funds where they will most enhance safer routes.
Work continues on the plans for the route along with additional community outreach to refine the design and minimize resident’s concerns with parking and sidewalk/ramp improvements in front of their homes.