Anyone who has tried to get around Morgantown knows it can be a challenge at times. Traffic tie-ups are commonplace as people attempt to travel from campus to campus. But theres a movement afoot to address that issue.
Greg Good, associate professor of history at West Virginia University, wants to establish a walkway that will connect Sunnyside near the Downtown campus with Evansdale. The idea has been tossed around since the 1970s, but Good is working diligently to make the idea become a reality.
At the end of Grant Avenue, there is a trail that begins and runs uphill ending near Blaney House on the Evansdale campus, Good said. He wants to improve the conditions of the trail by paving it and making it accessible to wheelchairs, and by adding a staircase where the trail gets too steep.
With lighting and a blue emergency phone, I think a lot of people would use the trail,Good said.The more people use it, the safer it would be, and it would also cut down on vehicular traffic.
Engineers from a private consulting firm on contract with the city determined last year that the hill is too steep and a quality trail for a wheelchair could not be put in.But the findings didnt discourage Good. Hes still working to find a viable option.
There is still the possibility for a good connection,Good believes.I think you can put in stairs leading down from Blaney House, including a flat section for people to push bikes that leads to a walkway taking you into Sunnyside.
Good believes the walkway would become quite popular. While looking at the trail last year, city officials found many students already using it to get from downtown to Evansdale and vice versa, he said.
Good has even conducted experiments to determine the walkways viability. Over the course of a year, whenever he needed to travel from one campus to another for a meeting, Good would take different modes of transportation and time himself. The fastest time by far, he said, was when he rode his bike on the trail. The second fastest time was the PRT , followed by when
he rode his bike on University Avenue and walked the rest of the way on the trail. His slowest time, surprisingly, was when he drove his car.
Good believes funding for the project could be made possible in part by grants. He also believes the walkway could become a reality with the backing of the city and University.
Good has been a non-car commuter ever since he went to graduate school in Toronto. He became an active proponent for pedestrians and bicycles with the Green Space Coalition in Morgantown in the 1990s. He believes firmly that a walkable town is ahealthier and wealthier town.
Good is active with campus organizations such as the WVU Nutrition and Wellness Task Force and Mountaineers Move, a wellness campaign that promotes walkability and other issues of general well being. He believes the walkway will help get more people active and solve some of Morgantowns traffic problems. He says it will be a win-win situation for everyone involved.
If you can make it easier for people to walkyou will get more people walking, and there will, in turn, be less cars and healthier residents,he said.