DUBOIS – Looking towards 2030, the Northwest Clearfield County Transportation Plan’s current results were put on display for the public to view. Visitors seemed to show interest in the presentation as they conversed with the presenters after the show.
One aim of the NCCTP is to try to anticipate transportations problems and needs the study area might have in the next twenty to thirty years. The specific area being DuBois, Sandy township, Falls Creek, Huston township and Brady township. Assisting the five municipalities in this venture are the North Central PA Regional Planning and Development Commission and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Brian Funkhouser proposed the question, through power point, “how should the area develop?” Three scenarios were presented. The first was a “full build out” that assumed leaving everything as is, but allowing thirty years to pass. The second was “public preferred”, which was to hold public meetings like the one being attended to get feedback on what the people living in the study areas thought. The third would be combining the first two into a hybrid scenario.
In order to see where the study area stands the NCCTP began gathering first hand information July of last year and using data from PennDOT from 2002-2007. When asked after the presentation it was explained that data more recent than January 1, 2007 simply wasn’t available at the time. The timing of everything to begin in July was so that field operatives would be out around the time school was in session, thus the first hand gathered data would include the influx of vehicles from public and secondary school students and the teachers of all the area schools.
The presented data showed a transportation system that needs some work as it currently stands, let alone allowed to age twenty-two years to the projected date of 2030. State bridges in the study area were found to be substandard 35 percent of the time. Substandard meaning either they were ranked as deficit, needing some kind of repair, or obsolete in terms of no longer being able to handle the amount of traffic crossing them. This worked out to be 26 state bridges being deficit and 4 being obsolete of the 85. This is compared to “local” bridges which 85 percent were found to be substandard, 16 deficit and one obsolete of the 22 local bridges in the study group.
Three intersections already were considered failing, said Funkhouser when asked. This was due to congestion, not wrecks which were the two displays next to the congestion display. Intersections were ranked A through F. Most fell in B/C range for the morning, mid-day and evening peak hours. Only two had Fs, both in evenings and only one E at a third.
To help illustrate the importance of some changes being needed were the wreck displays. One with statistics concerning 247 reported wrecks that happened at intersections in the last five years. The worst being 32 at U.S. Route 219 and Park Avenue. This was followed by 22 wrecks at state Route 255 and Shaffer.
Not all was gloom. With the fastest growing demographic of the study area being senior citizens, there is attention being turned towards public transportation like DuFast Transit and Area Transportation Authority to make getting around easier for the elderly in the future. Some potential ideas including making the pickup points more obvious and shelters.