Ingram is looking to invest grant and borough funding on a plan that would help tame traffic on some of the more populated roadways in the area.
By Dianne Stuckman
Ingram is investing more than $45,000 of grant and borough funding to calm traffic – but not without the input of its residents.
The new project aims to create a strategic pedestrian/bicycle and vehicle design to slow traffic on the borough's most heavily traveled streets. Areas near the Ingram Station Busway, including Foster Street to Ingram and Prospect avenues, are targeted.
The steering committee for the project, a mix of borough and county officials, business owners and residents, applied for and received a $43,500 grant in 2019 from the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County in partnership with the Hillman Foundation. The borough was required to match 15% of it, or $6,525.
A major step in this project’s process involves obtaining feedback from residents.
“It's really important to have public input,” said Greg Butler, chair of the project's steering committee. Butler also chairs the borough's planning commission and is on Ingram's council.
The Urban Design Studio, part of Michael Baker International, was awarded the project after an extensive, yearlong interview process. Six design firms had placed bids for the work.
“All the proposals were top notch, but the work Michael Baker had done in the past was really in line with what we are looking for,” Butler said.
Justin Miller, a Michael Baker transportation planner, is project manager of Ingram's project. None of Miller's plans for the project will be solidified prior to the workshops.
“We don't go in with any preconceived notions. We're there to collectively arrive at what people would like to see,” Miller said. A two-day series of workshops, open to all residents, will be held Aug. 17 and 18 to discuss ideas and options to make Ingram more pedestrian
centric. The event will take place at the borough building and culminate with a family event at Foster Park.
The workshop will be informative, with five 90-minute segments. At the end of the workshops a rough sketch of the plan will be revealed based on public input. A formal, engineered plan will be drafted by year's end.
“The borough is small and very walkable, it's meant to have a small town feel,” Butler said. He added that traffic safety is an issue in Ingram. Several methods can be implemented to slow traffic, said Miller, such as raised crosswalks, curb bumpouts, textured paving, new lights, plantings and narrowed travel lanes.
Brick streets, like Ingram Avenue, naturally slow the speed of traffic although are not accommodating to wheelchairs and bicycles, he said. A wide street can lack visual cues for drivers to slow down. A five-prong intersection, as near Foster Park, can be dangerous to cross on foot.
Although bike lanes will be part of the discussion, Miller said the goal is to approach from the idea of 'complete street,' where users are safe no matter their mode of transportation.
“Not every street has room for everything,” he said.
Miller previously worked to reconfigure Bigelow Boulevard in Oakland, adding clearly delineated spaces for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
Butler expects to use the study results to acquire more grants to complete the work in stages. “I envision a really good plan that can unfold over several years,” he said.
Residents can register for the workshops and complete the community survey on the ingram.vision website.