DVRPC News: April 2012
Volume 33, Issue 10
DVRPC Regional Trails Program Approves $450,000 in Trail Grants
DVRPC has awarded over $450,000 in trail planning and feasibility study grants to 10 county and municipal governments, economic development partnerships, and transportation organizations in Greater Philadelphia. These grants will lay the foundation for future design and construction of multi-use trails that bolster the southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey Regional Trail Network.
The grants constitute Phase II of DVRPC's Regional Trails Program, which aims to create a connected network of multi-use trails in the Delaware Valley region. Multi-use trails can reduce congestion, lower air pollution, and allow people to use their bodies for transportation, improving health and wellness in the process.
The Regional Trails Program, administered by DVRPC with funding from the William Penn Foundation, provides funding for targeted, priority trail design, construction, and planning projects that will promote a truly connected, regional network of multi-use trails with Philadelphia and Camden as its hub. The program also provides technical assistance to trail developers, counties, municipalities, and nonprofit organizations.For more information and to view the list of grant recipients, please visit www.dvrpc.org/RegionalTrailsProgram.
Public Participation Plan Adopted
At its April 26 meeting, the DVRPC Board adopted the new Public Participation Plan. Because of changes made recently to DVRPC's public involvement program, it was necessary for the Commission to update the Plan, which was last adopted in 2008. This document was designed for our Board, staff, and the general public as an outline of DVRPC's overall strategy for public involvement and includes the policies that have been adopted and are inherent to the operation of the Commission. It conveys our commitment to a transparent and proactive process that strives to engage all residents of the Delaware Valley.
As a result of suggestions received during a 45-day public comment period that extended from January 30 to March 14, minor changes were made to the draft document. Copies of the adopted Public Participation Plan are available in the
DVRPC Resource Center or at www.dvrpc.org/GetInvolved/PublicParticipation.
Circuit Rider Seminar Series Continues with June Event
DVRPC's Circuit Rider program is continuing its 2012 seminar series on reducing energy costs in municipal operations with a June event titled "Energy Management Best Practices." The seminar will highlight ways municipalities can achieve significant energy cost savings through simple low- or no-cost improvements to their buildings and facilities. Municipalities attending the free seminar will receive tips for tracking energy use, implementing operations and maintenance improvements, and tracking progress over time.
The Circuit Rider seminar series kicked off in April with a seminar providing information on how municipalities can participate in the LED Traffic Signal Conversion Program, which helps municipalities cost-effectively convert to energy-efficient LED Traffic Signals. The seminar series is just one aspect of the Regional Circuit Rider for Energy Efficiency in Local Government Operations (Circuit Rider) program. The program provides training and direct assistance to municipalities in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties to develop and implement strategies to reduce energy use—and thus reduce the associated greenhouse gas emissions.
For more information about the Circuit Rider program, visit www.dvrpc.org/EnergyClimate/CircuitRider.
Ozone Season Begins
As warmer weather approaches, so does the onset of ground-level ozone. High levels of ozone pose health risks for everyone, and over half of the population is considered especially sensitive to ground-level ozone. Fortunately, ozone levels are being monitored and the public can be alerted when levels become dangerous. A program of DVRPC, the Air Quality Partnership (AQP) educates residents about the dangerous effects of ground-level ozone and provides air quality forecasts to the public.
April 26 marked the start of the AQP's ozone season, which runs through September. Currently, Greater Philadelphia does not meet the federal air quality standards for ground-level ozone. In the summer, sunlight and high temperatures "bake" pollutants emitted by motor vehicles, power plants and other sources, to form high levels of ground-level ozone, commonly known as smog. The AQP provides summertime ground-level ozone forecasts and encourages actions to reduce air pollution, including:
- Take transit or rideshare.
- Don't top off your gas tank. Spillage adds two tons of pollution to the air each day.
- Refuel at the end of the day. Ozone levels are highest in mid- to late-afternoon.
- Be sure to clean out your trunk, since an extra 100 pounds reduces gas mileage by up to 2%.
- Trip-link when possible. Combining errands with your daily commute will save time, money, and the environment.
- Follow regular maintenance schedules for your car. A properly running vehicle emits less pollution and saves gas. Check your owner's manual and properly inflate your tires because it can improve your gas mileage up to 3.3 %. When changing your oil, use a manufacturer-recommended grade motor oil to improve fuel economy by 1-2%.
To sign up for air quality alerts, visit www.airqualitypartnership.org. Daily air quality forecasts and helpful tips are also available on the website or by calling 1-800-872-7261.
Vote Now for Your Favorite "I Love Classic Towns" Photo
Online voting for DVRPC's first ever "I Love Classic Towns" photo contest is happening now. The public can vote for their favorite images by visiting the Classic Towns website at www.classictowns.org. The deadline to vote is May 14.
To date, more than 600 images by both amateur and professional photographers have been submitted for the contest, which launched on Feb. 14. The contest is part of DVRPC's innovative Classic Towns of Greater Philadelphia program and is designed to engage the community in showcasing the region's unique neighborhoods in both the city and suburbs. Photographers entered photographs from these towns in seven different categories including: community, local history, main street, parks and recreation, people, residential, and seasonal. Once online voting has closed, the photos with the highest votes from each category will go before a panel of judges that will select winners in each category as well as the overall winner. Winners will be announced by July 31, 2012.
To learn more about the photo contest and the Classic Towns program, visit www.classictowns.org.
Task Force Focuses on Pedestrian Safety
The safety and convenience of pedestrian travel is an important factor in our quality of life. On March 8, the Regional Safety Task Force (RSTF) held a meeting focused on ensuring pedestrian safety in Greater Philadelphia.
Consistent with national statistics, pedestrian crashes and fatalities in the Delaware Valley region have been on a downward trend. At the meeting, attendees discussed key findings including how the number of pedestrian crashes fell from 3,337 in 2006 to 3,005 crashes in 2010, a nine percent decrease. Pedestrian fatalities also decreased, from 94 in 2006 to 72 fatalities in 2010. Despite having the largest pedestrian population, Philadelphia had a significant drop in pedestrian crashes and fatalities. Chester County recorded the least number of pedestrian incidents and fatalities.
For more key findings, and strategies to improve pedestrian safety, visit /transportation/safety/pdf/2012-03_RSTF_Meeting_One_Page_Summary.pdf.
DVRPC Launches Household Travel Survey
This summer, DVRPC will conduct a household travel survey in the Delaware Valley region. The survey will provide an up-to-date data set for the evaluation and validation of DVRPC's current travel models. The survey will cover the nine-county region and have a desired sample size of 10,000 households. The household travel survey will follow a detailed sampling plan with targets for each population segment. Likely segmentation categories include county, income, and car ownership.
Participating households will be mailed a survey packet that includes travel diaries for each member of the household over the age of five and a travel day assignment. Participants will record daily travel information in their travel diaries, including travel modes, destinations, purposes, and times. The main survey will be conducted on weekdays for twelve full months.
Household travel surveys such as this one are used to obtain information about work and non-work trip generation, trip distribution, modal choice, and traffic assignment as well as to obtain data on average vehicle occupancy. Updated household travel information can be used for modeling purposes, as well as transportation planning projects such as high occupancy vehicle lanes, bicycle and pedestrian studies, welfare-to-work programs, and development of traffic control studies.
For more information and updates on the project, visit www.dvrpc.org/TravelSurvey.