Roadways to the Upcoming | Point out Higher education, PA

Downtown Point out College or university considered from the roof of the Beaver Avenue Parking Garage. Picture by Geoff Rushton |

Frank Zappa at the time claimed, “You can’t be a serious place unless you have a beer and an airline. It allows if you have some form of a soccer workforce, or some nuclear weapons, but at the extremely minimum you require a beer.” 

On a scaled-down scale, John Hook claims, “You can not be a genuine metropolis unless you have minimal-obtain four-lane highways to get you there from other cities.” Due to the fact devoid of fast roadways, with apologies to the fictional Terence Mann, folks will not occur.

In the planet in accordance to me, Happy Valley is only slowly shifting in the way of staying a serious city. The important phrase there is bit by bit. As quite a few of us previously know, it’s frequently reported that numerous times a calendar year Beaver Stadium (which is actually in College or university Township) gets the fourth premier metropolis in the condition, with its potential of 106,572 powering only the populations of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Allentown, and forward of Erie

But in actuality, Condition University Borough is only the 21st most significant metropolis (technically “incorporated place”) in the state, just guiding Altoona.

So we’re not anything at all close to town-position right now. But I have lots of pals and neighbors who are apprehensive about Satisfied Valley’s eventual arrival at city-status and the concomitant developing that arrives with it. 

To get there however, in my thoughts, we have to have the roads. When I initial came to Penn State in 1977 the only roads in and out of city had been the two- and three-lane wide variety. Due to the fact then vacation from the east on point out routes  64 and 26 has been changed by I-99. Vacation from the southwest on U.S. Route 220 has been replaced by I-99. Travel from the northwest on U.S. 322 has been upgraded and improved by merging with I-99 for a little bit. And vacation from the southeast on U.S. 322 just gained an improve 10 miles from State University with the Potters Mills bypass. 

Though these are significant variations in the past 44 decades, we’re even now not reachable only by confined-access four-lane highways, specially from the other key cities about the point out. The shortest time and distance routes from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown and Erie all have to have expending a handful of miles on roads other than limited-accessibility four-lane highways.

From Philadelphia, you are going to consider the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Harrisburg, go around Harrisburg, and then use U.S. 322 to Content Valley, the final eight-or-so miles of which will be on a two-lane roadway. From Allentown you are going to drive I-78 to Harrisburg and then have the similar knowledge on U.S. 322. From Erie you will use I-79 south to I-80 east, then exit at Woodland and commit 20 miles on two-lane streets from there through and earlier Philipsburg – alongside with a few purple lights and slower-than-highway velocity boundaries.

Even coming from big out-of-point out cities these as New York City, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore needs a little digression from restricted-entry four-lane highways. 

From New York City you’ll use I-80 and exit to a red mild and a quick half-mile extend of two-lane highway to get on I-99 for the final miles into Condition Higher education. As design has started on the replacement interchange for I-80 exit 161 so that a higher-pace connector in between I-80 and I-99 can be constructed in a handful of many years, this will most likely be the to start with way from which we will move toward real metropolis-position by my criteria.

However, from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore you are going to have the same practical experience for the previous 90 miles as individuals driving from Philadelphia or Allentown. Even though from Washington, D.C. you may pick an incredibly two-lane solution of condition routes 75, 522 and 26, or a additional westerly option and shell out just a brief little bit of time on community streets in Breezewood and Bedford as you enter and exit the Turnpike. 

But in the pantheon of roadways that will allow for Satisfied Valley to turn into a real city by my definition, the one that will maintain us out of that position for the longest time is possible to be the road to Pittsburgh — which appears to be odd given that Delighted Valley tends, at least by my observation, to be far more related to Pittsburgh than any other town, specifically Philadelphia. There feel to be more Steelers, Pirates and Penguins enthusiasts than Eagles, Phillies and Flyers followers. We’re Sheetz state, not Wawa. I listen to pop a lot more than soda and yinz much more than youz. And we can get to downtown Pittsburgh faster than downtown Philly even while the generate is significantly from a limited-entry 4-lane highway aspiration.  

Let’s analyze that vacation to Pittsburgh. In the calendar year 2021 – the 21st century – the shortest time and length driving route concerning Pittsburgh, the 2nd-greatest city in Pennsylvania, and State College or university entails just about 60 miles of standard street with driveways, intersections, organizations, properties, loads of 45-mph velocity boundaries, and to best it off, 31 halt lights!

That’s suitable. There are, by my depend, 31 halt lights on the practically 60 miles of U.S. 22 in between Ebensburg and Monroeville on the drive to Pittsburgh from Condition Faculty. To provide a comparison for Satisfied Valley people, if you travel College or university Avenue from the Nittany Mall on the east aspect of city to Pine Grove Mills on the west aspect of city you will go through 22 quit lights. And we all know how everlasting that 9-mile vacation can really feel. 

Granted, the journey together this stretch of Americana from State School to Pittsburgh does provide you with some exciting sights. 

There is the Lamplighter in Delmont. a restaurant that has given home-cooked food a great name given that 1955. On my first vacation to Pittsburgh 45 a long time ago to go to Carnegie Mellon, we stopped there to consume simply because it was so perfectly recognized. The Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Greensburg is one more family members-owned restaurant well-known for serving handmade foods and opened a calendar year later on in 1956. Then there’s Dean’s Diner in Blairsville, which is housed in an authentic vintage dining motor vehicle and open up 24/7.  

For those with a humorous penchant for previous television sitcom heritage, when heading westbound on this excursion you will go the exit for Lilly and then promptly pass the exit for Munster.

A further interesting sight is the tallest smokestack in the United States, which is situated at the Homer Town Electric power Era plant only a number of miles north of Blairsville. At 1,217 toes superior it is just 33 feet shorter than the Empire State Developing (not counting the spire and antenna). It’s also the third-tallest smokestack in the entire world and is noticeable from miles absent as you make this drive. 

All these sights and additional can make this excursion by miles of crimson lights a little bit much more pleasurable if you have the time to prevent and take them in. Additionally, it does not appear that there are ideas to bypass those sights any time in the foreseeable foreseeable future, a la how the fictional city of Radiator Springs and the legendary Route 66 had been bypassed by a freeway in the Disney Pixar film “Cars.” Meaning it could be decades, or even a century right before Content Valley will become a correct city by my definition. 

So dread not, pals and neighbors. Even while significant-rises seem to be to be sprouting everywhere in our bucolic downtown, and we may possibly someday in the future develop into a real metropolis and city location in the heart of Pennsylvania, that advancement is coming little by little. You’ve nevertheless bought lots of time to get pleasure from the rural nature of Joyful Valley.