February 06 2013

The Potential of Small Town Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning

Jonathan Eshenour Memorial Trail 2

The Jonathan Eshenour Memorial Trail is a twenty-two mile trail that travels through the heart of Hershey, PA, providing access to parks, neighborhoods, and commercial establishments. The trail was named after a local resident who lost his life in a bicycling accident in 1997. Along the pathway residents of Hershey memorialize their loved ones through the donation of benches, trees, and even a sunset park. The Eshenour Family and the community of Hershey have been instrumental in the development of this multi-use trail, through both their contributions and volunteer efforts.

Today the trail is always bustling, even during the winter months. It provides a safe pathway for individuals to commute to work, spend time with family, and enjoy the recreational activities that the town of Hershey has to offer. The trail features benches, gazebos, tables, gardens, historical landmarks, and passes by parks where families can meet for sports, pond-side fishing, and picnicking.

Over the years, the Jonathan Eshenour Memorial Trail has been expanded through the use of greenways and railroad corridors, as well as land contributions from federal, state, and local contributors. The trail has the potential to grow and expand – this can be accomplished by linking with Horse Shoe Trail, Lebanon Valley Rail Trail, and the Appalachian Trail. If developed, this trail could provide a great network of trails for the communities of Central Pennsylvania.

Jonathan Eshenour Memorial Trail 1

The town of Hershey and other communities across Pennsylvania are tapping into the benefits trails can provide including:

  • Increased community values and appeal;
  • Improved environmental conditions;
  • Promotion of health benefits;
  • Captured economic benefits, including increased property values and potential tourism benefits.

Hershey takes pride in what was initially a small eleven mile trail project, to what has grown to over twenty-two miles of interconnected trails; one that has great potential for even more growth. What makes the Jonathan Eshenour Memorial Trail and other bicycle and pedestrian trails successful is vision, implementation, and sustainability.

What are some examples of bicycle and pedestrian trails that have impacted your community?

Credits: Photographs by Alex Riemondy. Data linked to sources.

Alex Riemondy

Alex Riemondy is a recent graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Environmental Studies, and a Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning. Her interests in urban planning first stemmed from a cross-country bicycle trip in support of affordable housing. During the trip she became fascinated with connecting communities through the development of safe cycling routes. On a bike, she is constantly thinking about her urban environment and how it can grow to meet the needs of her community. Although currently living in Hummelstown, PA - having recently returned from working on a permaculture farm in Costa Rica - she plans to pursue a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning in Southern California. Finding happiness through connecting with her community and environment, she is most interested in improving citizen quality of life though: bicycle and pedestrian planning, green street design, and increasing citizen participation in the planning process.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 at 9:01 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Environment, Environmental Design, Land Use, Transportation, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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One Response to “The Potential of Small Town Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning”

  1. Craig Says:

    Great to see Hershey investing in its cycling infrastructure. The St. Marks rail trail in Tallahassee, Florida always provided me with a convenient and fun way to escape the city and access the coast and Mt Bike trails in the Apalachicola National Forest.

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