Friday, May 10, 2013

Trail Worker Wins National Award for his Work on the Schuylkill River Trail and other PA Trails

Steve Pohowsky (L) with SRHA Exec. Dir. Kurt Zwikl
A Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) employee recently earned a 2013 National Trails Award from American Trails for his work improving trail user safety on several Pennsylvania trails, including the Schuylkill River Trail.

Stephen P. Pohowsky was recognized with a State Trail Worker Award after being nominated for the honor by Schuylkill River Heritage Area Trails Project Manager Robert Folwell. Pohowsky received the award at a recent PennDot meeting.

Pohowsky is a Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator and Safety Program Specialist for PennDOT District 5-0, which encompasses the counties of Berks, Schuylkill, Lehigh, Carbon, Northampton and Monroe. He received the award for "his extraordinary contribution to improving
trail user safety at state highway crossings within District 5-0."

His nomination form noted a number of accomplishments achieved since Pohowsky took his current position in 2006. "As the District Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator he has worked to address pedestrian and bicycle safety requests and concerns such as mid-block crosswalks, bicycles on freeways, and signage for the BicyclePA Route system. He also is responsible for all Shared Use Path Trail Crossing Agreements and trail crossing design reviews and has worked on the Saucon Rail Trail, Union Canal Trail, Schuylkill River Trail, D&L Trail, Palmer Township Trail, and several others. "

According to Folwell, Pohowksy is an avid trail user who uses "his trail riding experience as well as his extensive knowledge of PennDOT highway safety issues to effectively evaluate all trail crossing plans to determine what works best, and has developed model guidelines for District 5 that will save lives."

In accepting the award Pohowsky thanked the Schuylkill River Heritage Area and American Trails. He observed that he recognized a need for better communication between PennDOT and the trail building community, and had worked toward that improvement.

"We are fortunate to be located in an area of the State with a large expanse of both canal and rail trails thanks to the former anthracite coal industry.  These trails are not just a portal to our past, but also a pathway to our future.  As both the Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator and an avid trail user I’ve had the privilege of working closely with numerous forward thinking trail organizations.  Together we’ve made tremendous progress in trail crossing safety and development.  I look forward to continuing to work with our partners to make our trails a source of pride, an asset to their communities, and a fine example of what we can accomplish together." 
In addition to his work on the trail, Pohowsky also took this video of the Schuylkill River Trail Thun Section. 

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