• About Us
  • Region
  • Newsroom
  • Get Involved

FOCUS Newsletter

OCTOBER 2009
Focus DVRPC Newletter Banner
Program News

TCDI grant program to provide up to $1.62 million to local communities for revitalization efforts

DVRPC is providing up to $1.62 million in grants to support local development efforts in communities that implement municipal, county, state, and regional planning objectives. The funding is being made available through the Transportation and Community Development Initiative (TCDI) program.

The program provides needed funding to the region's older townships, boroughs, and cities to support redevelopment efforts and stem the loss of population or jobs. Communities utilize these funds for a wide range of redevelopment efforts, including creating Business Improvement Districts; updating zoning ordinances and comprehensive master plans; developing plans for transit-oriented development; inter-municipal planning; and prioritizing capital transportation improvements

DVRPC is accepting applications until 5:00 p.m. on November 20, 2009. More information and a list of eligible communities is available at: http://www.dvrpc.org/tcdi.

DVRPC Releases Connections Long-Range Plan

DVRPC has released its new long-range plan "Connections - the Regional Plan for a Sustainable Future." It calls for protecting 500,000 acres of open space, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by half, and securing an additional $100 million per year in new regional funding to modernize the transportation system. It also focuses on new development and revitalization projects in the region's 100-plus "livable communities," pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented neighborhoods throughout the Greater Philadelphia region that blend residential and commercial amenities.

Developed with input and guidance from the public, the long-range plan establishes a series of goals and strategies over the next 25 years for managing land use and protecting natural resources, promoting better integrated urban-suburban development, building a more energy-efficient economy and ensuring "right-sized" transportation projects that emphasize multiple modes of transportation.

The plan is a blueprint for future growth and is part of the Commission's mandate as the metropolitan planning organization, or MPO, for the Greater Philadelphia Region. It is designed to connect people in cities, suburbs, and rural areas of the Delaware Valley; coordinate planning at the state, regional and local levels; and tie together land use, transportation, the economy, and the environment.

The plan is available online at the DVRPC website at http://www.dvrpc.org/connections.

DVRPC Adds Nine Towns to its Classic Towns of Greater Philadelphia Initiative

On October 1, DVRPC welcomed nine more towns to its Classic Towns of Greater Philadelphia marketing initiative, which is aimed at growing, revitalizing and supporting the region's older suburbs and urban neighborhoods. The additions bring the number of designated Classic Towns to 20. The initiative is designed to promote Classic Towns as great places to live, work, and play.

The nine towns selected for the second phase of the initiative are Ardmore, New Hope, Phoenixville, Souderton/Telford and Wayne in Pennsylvania; the Philadelphia neighborhood of Germantown; and Glassboro, Merchantville, and Moorestown in New Jersey.

More than one million people relocate within the Greater Philadelphia region every year. The Classic Towns program highlights the "classic" communities and helps future residents and business owners discover the beauty and diversity of the region's older towns. Although the Greater Philadelphia region as a whole is promoted as a tourist destination and business center, many suburban communities lack the resources necessary to launch sophisticated and effective marketing programs that target specific demographic groups.

The Classic Towns program's genesis dates to 2004 when, with funding from the William Penn Foundation, DVRPC launched the Strategies for Older Suburbs Initiative to stimulate and support reinvestment in the region's older suburbs and urban neighborhoods through multiple and varied efforts. As part of that initiative, DVRPC worked with a team of marketing and branding professionals to develop Classic Towns.

To learn more about the Classic Towns initiative and for information about specific neighborhoods and their amenities visit www.classictowns.org.

DVRPC Website Wins Top Honor

The National Association of Government Webmasters (NAGW) has awarded DVRPC its top honor for its website, www.dvrpc.org. The Pinnacle Award winners were announced in September at NAGW's 2009 National Conference in Galveston, TX, and are given to local governments for website excellence. Judges reviewed websites based on team size, content, organization, design, function, accessibility, standards, and interactivity.

In the Large Population category, the DVRPC took the honors. The in-house team led by Joe Fazekas, oversaw the development of the new DVRPC website, which was launched in June, and features a semi-fluid design that takes advantage of all available real estate in the modern browser window. The site also features customizable widgets in the left and right columns that bring important timely information to all pages of the site. The team accomplished the daunting task of organizing more than 30 gigabytes of text, reports, data, maps, and applications. Judges marveled at their ability to get to this mountain of information within three clicks. They also gave DVRPC the nod for accessibility and site responsiveness. The use of Google Mash-ups, online mapping applications and FusionCharts all engage the visitor by presenting information in a useful way. Other finalists in the Large Population category included the County of Maui, Hawaii and Chesterfield County, Virginia.

Freight Scans at DVRPC

DVRPC's Freight Unit is undertaking a new initiative entitled "County Freight Scans."

The primary objective of the County Freight Scans is to equip the staffs of county planning commissions and departments with increased understanding of freight trends and with greater capacity for addressing freight issues. Each of the nine counties in the DVRPC region will be the focus of investigation for a one-month time period. DVRPC staff will meet with County planning staff members at the outset of the month for an orientation and discussion about the desired outcomes of the program, and then again at the end of the month for a wrap-up and presentation of findings.

Some of the anticipated activities to be undertaken by DVRPC staff within each county are:

  • review of the freight element of the county comprehensive plan
  • conduct of meetings with key stakeholders
  • preparation of county-specific freight data
  • organization of field views of representative freight facilities
  • documentation of supply chain and good-neighbor case studies

DVRPC staff will also seek to assemble mapping information regarding major transportation facilities, freight generators, and special areas (e.g., Foreign Trade Zones). This information will be compiled in a GIS environment that can be readily accessed by the member governments.

At the conclusion of the program, DVRPC will also prepare a freight-related brochure as part of the Municipal Implementation Tool series. This piece will be specially targeted to the region's 353 municipalities and provide useful guidance for local governments attempting to balance freight operations with community goals.

For more information about this project, contact Ted Dahlburg at 215-238-2844 or tdahlburg@dvrpc.org.

DVRPC's New Shifting Gears Program

Shifting Gears is a new outreach program initiated by DVRPC to determine the bicycle issues and priorities for our region. The program seeks input from bicyclists and non-bicyclists alike, and consists of three parts: an inventory of county and regional bicycle plans, staff outreach to county stakeholders, and a regional online questionnaire targeting riders and non-riders.

DVRPC staff will be contacting each county to set up a County meeting with those involved with bicycle planning and advocacy. Agenda and map materials will be provided to participants prior to each meeting. There will be some "truthing" of maps, but the meeting focus will be on defining plans, policies, and priorities relating to county level bicycling.

Participants in the meetings may also include a local bicycle advocate, someone from the Transportation Management Association, a parks and recreation planner, or any others identified as appropriate. The final report will summarize the three elements in this process: the annotated maps, the relevant issues from the meeting minutes, and the online questionnaire results summarized with proposals for prioritized regional bicycle facilities.

If you have additional questions or want to set up a meeting, please contact Dan Nemiroff at 215-238-2879 or dnemiroff@dvrpc.org.

Events Calendar
Oct 28-30 7th Annual Design on the Delaware Regional Conference
Philadelphia, PA
Design on the Delaware is a collaborative conference examining the issues and opportunities of the built environment for design and building professionals in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.
Oct 28-30 2009 Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO)
Savannah, GA
This three day event brings together Policy Board members, Executive Directors, technical staffs, federal and state employees, and consultants to share information on a variety of MPO issues.
Oct 30 - Nov 1 Rail-Volution: Building Livable Communities with Transit
Boston, MA
Rail-Volution is a conference for practitioners from all perspectives who believe strongly in the role of land use and transit as equal partners in the quest for greater livability and greater communities.
Nov 5-6 APA New Jersey Chapter Conference
New Brunswick, NJ
The NJ chapter of the American Planning Association will hold its annual planning conference at the Hyatt Hotel in New Brunswick, NJ.
Nov 5-6 Streets as Places
New York City, NY
Project for Public Spaces: Streets as Places is a two-day transportation and placemaking training seminar intended to introduce participants to new ways of thinking about streets and how placemaking can be used to build great communities.
Nov 7-11 American Public Health Association (APHA) 137th Annual Meeting & Exposition
Philadelphia, PA
The APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition is the premier Public Health Educational Forum. Learn about cutting edge research, best practices, and the latest public health products and services.
Nov 13-16 2009 REALTORS© Conference & Expo
San Diego, CA
The realtors Conference & Expo is dedicated to addressing the industry issues that affect all REALTORS© nationwide.
Nov 16-18 Brownfields 2009
New Orleans, LA
The National Brownfields Conference is the largest, most comprehensive conference in the nation focused on environmental revitalization and economic redevelopment.
Nov 18 ULI Philadelphia - Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2010
Philadelphia, PA
The forum will focus on national and global trends with special reports on macro trends throughout our tri-state region.
Dec 7-10 Ecobuild America
Washington, DC
Ecobuild America is sponsored by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) and educates design and construction professionals on how to improve our built environment. This conference introduces new strategies and materials to create high performance and sustainable structures with the technology to do it faster and more profitably.