DALLAS – Sen. Lisa Baker, R-20, is pleased to announce that more than $2.1 million in Multimodal Transportation Fund Investment grants have been awarded to three projects in the 20th Senatorial District.
The largest of the three is a $1.2 million grant to a project in Wyoming County. The funds will be used to complete pedestrian safety improvements, traffic calming, and streetscape enhancements on College Avenue in Factoryville to support realignment of the Keystone College campus entrance.
“I enthusiastically supported this worthwhile project that continues the cooperative partnership between the college and the borough for the good of those on and off campus,” Baker said. “ADA-compliant sidewalks and crosswalks, improved lighting and other enhancements are all excellent uses of the multimodal grant funds as they’ll each improve pedestrian safety.”
Keystone College President David L. Coppola welcomed the news.
“We are delighted to receive this grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for traffic and streetscape improvements on College Avenue,” he said. “This much-needed addition will improve safety for Keystone students and visitors and add to the aesthetic beauty of our scenic campus. We extend our most sincere thanks to all those who worked to make this grant possible.”
Factoryville Borough Manager Mary Ellen Buckbee, noted the borough has worked well with Keystone College and this grant is yet another step in the long-term partnership.
“Factoryville Borough is delighted to partner with Keystone College again in this grant for significant improvements on the college’s campus. Keystone College is a vital presence in our town and the improvements will greatly enhance the experience for the students as well as ensuring their safety. We look forward to this enhancement project,” she said.
The project also includes roundabouts and a traffic realignment, which will give the college’s main entrance a new and unique look but more importantly, make things safer for motorists and pedestrians.
“This multimodal grant funding will allow Factoryville and Keystone College to partner to install new and improved pedestrian facilities along the heavily used entrance of Keystone College and along a section of College Avenue,” said Liz Ratchford, Keystone’s director of grants. “These ADA compliant sidewalks and crosswalks will improve pedestrian safety. Traffic realignment, roundabouts, lighting, curb ramps, and crosswalks will improve the safety and pedestrian access for this active pedestrian area of Factoryville at the entrance to Keystone College.”
Forty Fort, in Luzerne County, will receive $825,306 for traffic signal upgrades at Wyoming Avenue, Slocum Street, and Welles Street, improvements to sidewalks and lighting at the borough building, and the paving of 20 alleyways throughout the borough.
“These roadways are travelled heavily by residents,” Baker said. “In their current condition, the rough, narrow route poses a hazard to motorists. Upgrades would improve public safety and enhance infrastructure. It is without a doubt a worthwhile endeavor for the traveling public and pedestrians, alike.”
Forty Fort Borough Manager Barbara Fairchild said the work is something the borough’s budget would not have been easily able to absorb.
“The borough would not be able to provide all of this with our current budget constraints. It means so much to receive a grant of this magnitude,” Fairchild said. “With this grant we are able to address our concerns for public safety and feel it will enhance our transportation system for borough residents.”
And Wayne County has been awarded a $107,000 grant to replace the county-owned pedestrian bridge at 6th Street in Honesdale that connects residential and commercial districts across the Lackawaxen River.
“If this bridge project didn’t happen, those pedestrians and cyclists that have grown accustomed to using it would lose a convenient and safe route to access downtown Honesdale businesses, government offices and medical services,” said Baker. “This project is a prime example of why it was so important to pass a transportation funding bill that benefits not only roadways and public transportation but alternate travel avenues such as pedestrian bridges and those that encourage cyclists.”
In a joint statement, Wayne County Commissioners Brian Smith, Jonathan Fritz and Wendell Kay said, “The Wayne County Commissioners are very pleased to learn of the award of this PennDOT Multimodal Transportation grant. This grant allows the county to continue its program of transportation and infrastructure improvement by maintaining an invaluable and long-existing pedestrian walkway.”
The commissioners added, “This critical enhancement serves to improve the quality of life for many local residents and further improves their access to employment, government resources, medical, retail and cultural facilities.”
The three projects were among 86 statewide that will improve safety and mobility with a portion of $84 million in Multimodal Transportation Fund investments awarded on Oct. 28. Projects will take place in 35 counties.
The grants were made possible by Act 89, which increased transit funding and established dedicated multimodal funding for aviation, passenger rail, rail freight, port and bicycle-pedestrian projects. The grant process was a competitive one and selections were based on such criteria as safety benefits, regional economic conditions, the technical and financial feasibility, job creation, energy efficiency and operational sustainability. Projects require a 30-percent match from local sources.