The objectives of the Master Plan included:
- Evaluating the feasibility of multiple options for extending the Shoreline Trail and recommending a preferred route
- Developing preliminary route alignments and design criteria for a set of feasible alternative trail paths
- Engaging the community and key stakeholders to ensure consensus prior to construction
- Providing cost estimates for each alternative trail alignment
- Identifying funding strategies to facilitate implementation
Our team recognized the difficulties of constructing a multi-use trail through an active industrial site, and after careful coordination with the Shoreline Trail Steering Committee, established a set of measures for evaluating each trail alternative.
Some of the key criteria considered with each trail alternative included:
- Increasing access, proximity, and views of the waterfront, natural areas, and industrial heritage
- Avoidance of environmental constraints such as wetlands, flood areas, and contaminated sites
- Minimizing right-of-way or easement purchases
- Avoiding or minimizing crossing intersections and railroads
- Grant requirements, ranking criteria, and funding limits
- Public and stakeholder preferences
- Avoiding on-road trail sections on Route 5 where possible
Using GIS to Map Trails
Our Data Intelligence team utilized ARC GIS technology to evaluate potential route alignments based on the technology’s extensive experience developing routes for utility transmission lines. A GIS script was developed to determine which routes would minimize costs and environmental issues while maximizing community and economic development benefits.
An Award-Winning Project
Master Plan Recognized for Outstanding Planning at WNY APA Annual Awards Event
In May 2023, LaBella was honored to join the Erie County Industrial Development Agency (ECIDA), the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, and the Erie County Parks at WNY APA’s annual awards ceremony in Buffalo, New York, where the Bethlehem Steel-Woodlawn Beach Shoreline Trail Master Plan project received a 2023 Outstanding Planning Award in the Best Practice – Gold category.
The Western New York Section of the American Planning Association (WNY APA) aims to connect, engage, educate, and support planners throughout the region’s Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany, and Southern Ontario counties. The Section’s annual awards program recognizes great planning work taking place by their members.