The Potential of Small Town Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning
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.
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.