More Happy LVRT News!


Last night, North Cornwall Township approved a plan to build a trail system that will link the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail to a few neighborhoods, some parks, and a commercial area.

There’s a big PDF map of the proposal.

The map is a little hard to read, but it looks like the some of the trail system will be on-road. There might be more details in the meeting minutes, but they are not yet posted on the township website.

If you look closely at the map near Cornwall Center, it shows a dashed yellow line branching off the LVRT to the southeast and dissapearing off the edge of the map.

Dashed yellow means proposed LVRT extension.

Interesting. I wonder how far it goes?

Buffalo Valley Rail Trail Politics


I’ve been trying to keep up with the status of the proposed Buffalo Valley Rail Trail. There’s been some pretty hilarious shenanigans underway, so I thought I’d summarize what’s been going on best as I can piece it together from various sources.

A few months ago, the Lewisburg Area Recreation Authority acquired about 11 miles of abandoned railroad tracks between Mifflinburg and Lewisburg.

OpenCycleMap of Buffalo Valley Rail Trail

Over the summer, the railroad tracks and ties were removed, and it looked like some of the trail would be open by spring 2010. A “friends of the trail” group was organized. I went to the first meeting of this group and signed up for the mailing list. We were supposed to register as a 503(c) non-profit, and get to work picking up trash, posting signs, etc.

I never heard from the group after that meeting, and I’m not sure if it still exists.

At some point, the trail was named the “Buffalo Valley Rail Trail,” and there was some sort of a kick-off meeting in late October.

Then things got weird.

Most of the rail trail actually lies outside of LARA’s jurisdiction, so LARA wanted to give the project to Union County. Pandemonium ensued.

Republican County Commissioner Preston Boop fired off an email to the Chairwoman of the Republican Committee, where he asked her for support from local Republicans to oppose the “Secret agenda and meetings of local elected Democrats,” and “wasteful spending of precious funds.”

Chairwoman Yvonne Morgan obliged, emailing her supporters, calling the trail a “Joke” and “Frivolity,” and even making a nasty personal attack on County Commissioner John Showers. This email exchange was promptly leaked to the press, and I have a copy of it here: (click for big)

The email exchange

If you’re so inclined, you can even watch a video of County Commissioner John Showers reading this ridiculous email into the public record. Keep an eye out for Yvonne Morgan sporting a pig hat.

Yvonne Morgan in a pig hat

In any event, LARA has a $3.7 million transportation grant from PennDOT for construction, but they can’t get that money until the design phase is done. They’ve applied for a $500,000 grant to do the design work, but they don’t know if they’ll get that money or not. In the meanwhile, it looks like they are going ahead with design work on credit.

I hope all this nonsense is sorted out before the end of the summer, because I’d really like to be able to ride my bike out to the Purple Cow for some ice cream.

CVRT Extension Meeting


I just saw this on the Harrisburg Bicycle Club’s website.

They want to extend the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail another 11 miles all the way from Newville to Carlisle, which would be really cool.


Anyhow, there’s a meeting about it Tuesday, December 15 @ 6 pm at Business Central, 18 N. Hanover St. in Carlisle.

More info on the project here:

I’m going to try to make it.

First Section of NWRT Open


The first section of the Northwest River Trail is now open. It’s only 2.3 miles at the moment, but eventually, it’s going to be part of a 14 mile long trail along the east shore of the Susquehanna in Northern Lancaster County.

There’s a nice writeup on the Lancaster newspaper’s webpage.

Bike Lanes for Carlisle Next Year


This is old news, but I haven’t been paying attention, so it’s new news for me.

Carlisle is getting some new bike lanes next year!

Planned bike lanes

Evidently, the borough government decided that having a pair of four-lane highways running right through the downtown was not such a good idea. So they’re implementing a “road diet” which includes the cycle lanes.

This is what it looks like now:

This is what it’ll look like when the project is done:

Nice, right?

There’s a bunch of PDF files explaining the whole project on the borough website.

Incidentally, there’s a guy running for Mayor of Harrisburg who has as part of his platform:

“Eliminate the six lane, divided highway called Front and Second”

Maybe there’s hope for the same kind of “road diet” treatment in downtown Harrisburg.

Route J is not so scary


I live about 10 miles away from BikePA route J, which makes it the closest piece of “official” bike infrastructure to my house. I’ve never ridden on it before, because it’s just a bunch of signs on a really busy 5-lane highway, and I was afraid of getting run over by a semi.

I was feeling reckless today, and I braved the fog and drizzle to gave it a go. It’s not nearly as scary as it seems from a car. The shoulders are about 10 feet wide, and separated from the traffic with a rumble strip.

The 10 miles of 11/15 between my house and where route J starts is a terrible, no-shoulder piece of highway, so I drove to the Haldeman Island Wildlife area parking lot, and rode from there.

Haldeman Island Wildlife Management Area

“Wildlife Management Area” means it’s a place you can go hunting for ducks and geese in the river.

My bike on the bridge to Haldeman Island

Anyways, I rode north, past seedy motels, porno shops, and truck stops.

Stardust Motel - $38 / night!

I didn’t get very far before the rain started coming down pretty hard, so I turned around at the Clemson Island Wildlife Management (goose hunting) area.

Clemson Island

I’m glad this route isn’t as scary as I thought it was. I think there’s a picnic area a few miles north of where I turned around. I’m going to try to find it next time.

New BikePA Route: J2


I was driving around Lemoyne the other day, and I noticed that PennDot has put up signs for a new BikePA bicycling route.

So, I turned on the GPS and followed the signs to see where they went. The route goes almost the whole way to Gettysburg, connecting Route J with Route S.

PennDot hasn’t updated their maps in ages, but OpenCycleMap always delivers the goods.

BikePA Route J2 Map from

Once you get out of Mechanicsburg, it’s a very scenic ride. It runs for about 30 miles through farms and apple orchards. There are a couple of enormous hills, so be sure to wear comfy shoes for pushing your bike uphill.

Here’s a GPX file of the route, in case you’d like to put it in your GPS or mapping software.

LVRT update


The other day, I saw on Doc’s blog that the LVRT finally got completed to Lebanon.

So yesterday, I went out to scope the new trail. I parked at the trailhead in Cornwall and rode to the point where the trail used to end, but it didn’t end. It went over the fancy new bridge, and it’s paved(!!!) all the way to 8th st.

Just before the bridge, there’s a new spur trail (also paved) that takes you to South Hills Park.

South Lebanon Township Trail


On the way back, I rode out to the park. It’s a nice park. I found a lovely bench in the shade and sat down to space out and relax for a while.

The trail is eventually going to go to the High School / Middle School, but you can pretty much ride there through the park now.

I gps logged the new parts of the trail, and you can now see the new hotness on OpenStreetMap.

View Larger Map

In other news, the new Rail Trail in Lewisburg is coming along nicely, despite grumblings from local yahoos.