Drivers soon should see green and white signs pop up along selected borough streets as construction on the Carlisle Borough Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail Network progresses.
Work started in December with the installation of signs marking roads that will also function as bicycle routes through the town, said Andrea Crouse, director of Carlisle Parks and Recreation. The signs are green featuring an image of a bike printed in white and the words "bike route" listed underneath or white with a black bicycle image and the words "may use full lane."
The state transportation department awarded the borough a $539,643 grant last year as part of the Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative, also known as the “Smart Transportation” program.
Crouse said census data shows 13.2 percent of borough residents don’t own or have access to a car. The trail project will be one way of offering transportation alternatives.
"The trail is a means of creating designated safer paths through the borough," Crouse said.
The trail is not part of the borough’s “Road Diet” project that reconfigured some streets in the downtown area last year, and it will not create new bike lanes. Crouse also said parking will not be affected.
“It’s not like a lot of things are changing,” Crouse said.
The bike and pedestrian trail is a continuous loop linking off-road bike trails to selected borough streets to provide safer routes for bicyclists to eight schools in the Carlisle School District as well as other points of interest like borough parks, Dickinson College, Penn State Dickinson School of Law, Cyberspace, the YWCA and the YMCA.
The entire route covers 8.2 miles, Crouse said, with 5.6 miles of that on “bike-enhanced streets.’
The bike lanes on Hanover and High streets are part of the trail, but don’t expect to see similar lanes drown out other streets within the bicycle and pedestrian trail network. Sharrows — or shared lane markings — will be applied directly on the roadway to alert drivers to the potential presence of bicycles on certain streets and remind them that bicyclists are permitted to use the full lane.
“It’s really going to be up to the bicyclist whether they occupy the whole lane or move to the side,” Crouse said. “Most will move to the side.”
The bicycle-shaped markings also help the bicyclist deal with doors opening on parked cars while reducing the chance of wrong-way bicycling.
“We’re trying to make it safe for both bicyclists and motorists,” Crouse said.
A new off-road trail will be created in what is now a cornfield adjacent to Dickinson Park along Ritner Highway. The 2.1-mile trail will connect Dickinson Park to Valley Meadows Park. The trail areas have already been cleaned and crushed stone will be put down when the weather warms and the fields dry out.
“The bike trails are really good for beginners — families with small children learning to ride bikes,” Crouse said.
Six bike racks will be installed along the trail as part of the project. Sharrows, or shared-use arrows, are expected to be installed from March through May, weather permitting.
“We’re shooting for June 30 for completion,” Crouse said.
After that, the borough will encourage people to use the trail. Crouse is currently working on a smaller version of the large trail map that currently forms the centerpiece of a bulletin board display at Stuart Community Center.
She said the borough has a walking program and is considering a similar program for biking.
“Really, we want to get the word out about the trail and about bike safety,” Crouse said.