As Elizabethtown Borough’s pedestrian-bicycle pathway continues to make progress east of Market Street, we’re seeing more and more griping about it online. Reasonable people can disagree about how, if at all, this sort of project should be done. But many of the arguments being made against this project fail to show any sort of reason.
One argument is that the project will accomplish nothing useful. This is hogwash. Although it is true that pedestrians could get around on sidewalks, this new pathway is also for bicyclists. It is inappropriate for adults to ride bicycles on sidewalks, and in the central business district, it’s actually illegal. Isn’t it a good thing to get the bicycles off the major streets where we drive and onto a path where they won’t be in conflict with cars and trucks? Even in places where the path goes through an alley where people drive, there are fewer motor vehicles traveling in alleys than on the major streets and they move more slowly.
In addition to the benefits for bicyclists, the path is already providing a more pleasant way to walk from downtown to the train station than walking along High Street. And for those who are running or jogging, not being next to a major street breathing in exhaust fumes is a huge benefit.
Another absurd argument is that the borough is wasting money. The money for this project comes from a state grant. Once the state Legislature decides to appropriate money for these grants, the money will be spent somewhere in Pennsylvania. Elizabethtown borough staff did a good job writing the grant application, which is why the money is being spent here. If the borough hadn’t applied for this, the money would be spent on some other Pennsylvania project, so our taxes would not be any cheaper. People who think the money should not have been spent at all should complain to the state Legislature, not to the borough.
Finally, we get to complaints that arguably have some merit. Some say the bright green stripe painted in Vine Alley is an eyesore. Could it be done another way, such as with the brick pavers used on the other side of High Street? That’s a reasonable question to bring up, but the way to do is to attend a Borough Council meeting. There’s always a period set aside for public comments at these meetings, which take place at 7 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of each month at the borough offices. Why not bring the criticism up in front of people who have the power to do something about it?
The preceding editorial is the opinion of The Elizabethtown Advocate. Other opinions on this page are those of individual contributors. The Advocate aims to give its readers a wide variety of opinions.