DVRPC News: June 2012
Volume 33, Issue 12
DVRPC Approves Over $3.8 Billion in Highway and Transit Projects
The DVRPC Board has approved more than $3.8 billion in funding for major highway and public transit investments in southeastern Pennsylvania with the adoption of the DVRPC FY2013 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for Pennsylvania. The TIP lists all transportation projects that intend to use federal funds, along with all state-funded projects. The list is multi-modal, and includes highway, transit, bicycle, pedestrian, and freight-related projects for fiscal years 2013-2016.
The FY2013 TIP for the Pennsylvania portion of the DVRPC region, representing Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties, contains 385 projects worth almost $3.8 billion (an average of $925 million per year). This includes over $2.3 billion for projects primarily addressing the highway system and almost $1.4 billion for transit projects for SEPTA, DRPA/PATCO, and Pottstown Area Rapid Transit.
In an effort to invite extensive public involvement, DVRPC provided an interactive web application developed specifically for public commenting; most comments were submitted in this manner. DVRPC also held a public meeting to give residents the opportunity to present comments about the process and projects. Printed Draft TIP documents were made available at the public meeting and distributed to many local libraries. Electronic versions of all printed materials were made available on DVRPC's website, www.dvrpc.org. Written comments on the Draft TIP were also received via regular mail, e-mail, and fax; comments were received from individuals, municipalities, member counties, and operating agencies.
In addition to the TIP, the DVRPC Board also adopted the Transportation Conformity Finding for the FY12 New Jersey and updated FY 13 Pennsylvania TIPs, and the Commission's Connections Long-Range Plan. Transportation conformity is the process that ensures that plans and programs receiving federal aid are consistent with the region's air quality goals.
To view a copy of the Draft TIP and the recommended changes, or to view current TIP projects using Google Maps, visit www.dvrpc.org/TIP.
South Jersey Bus Rapid Transit System Added to Long-Range Plan
At its June meeting, the DVRPC Board approved an amendment to the Connections Long-Range Plan. The South Jersey Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, a New Jersey Transit project, was added to the fiscally-constrained set of projects contained in the Connections Long-Range Plan.
The Connections Plan is the region's 25-year vision for prioritizing transportation investments in the region. In order to receive federal funding, transportation projects must be included in the Plan.
To help determine the need for and scope of the BRT system, New Jersey Transit recently completed an Alternatives Analysis study with regional planning partners. It focused on improving transit service along a wide corridor that included the Atlantic City Expressway, New Jersey Routes 42 and 55, Interstates 76 and 676, and downtown Camden and Philadelphia. The Alternatives Analysis identified a preferred alternative for a South Jersey BRT system that will provide a new high-quality transit service to Camden and Philadelphia for residents of Gloucester and Camden counties.
Public comment was sought on the amendment between May 3 and June 1, 2012. There were two public meetings and information sessions during the public comment period, held in Philadelphia, PA and Deptford, NJ.
For more information, visit www.dvrpc.org/connections.
"The Circuit," Philadelphia's Regional Trail Network, Unveiled on Schuylkill Banks
Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, Chester County Commissioner and DVRPC Board Member Terence Farrell, and representatives of more than a dozen other organizations gathered on the banks of the Schuylkill River in Center City Philadelphia on May 31 to unveil "The Circuit," Greater Philadelphia's regional network of pedestrian and bike trails. "The Circuit" was chosen over 170 other submissions in a contest to name the system of interconnected trails that stretch from southern New Jersey to central Pennsylvania. The Circuit Coalition, consisting of twenty organizations including DVRPC, is committed to accelerating the process of connecting existing trails to one another and building new trails to fill in key gaps in the trail network.
Bikers and pedestrians crowded the Schuylkill River Trail to hear the announcement and show their enthusiasm for continued development of The Circuit. "Connecting the circuit of trails in our region makes the Greater Philadelphia region a stronger, smarter, and more sustainable urban and suburban environment that attracts new companies and employers who choose to base their operations here," said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. "Investing in trails will help grow and strengthen the region in addition to connecting it."
For more information, visit http://connectthecircuit.org.
Grays Ferry Crescent Now Open to the Public
On June 11, the City of Philadelphia and the Schuylkill River Development Corporation (SRDC) unveiled the newest segment of Schuylkill Banks, the Grays Ferry Crescent. This is the first segment of the Schuylkill River Trail to be built in South Philadelphia, expanding waterfront recreation opportunities to Forgotten Bottom, Grays Ferry, and Point Breeze.
Grays Ferry Crescent was partially funded by a grant from DVRPC's Take Me to the River Program. SRDC used its $100,000 grant to plan and develop the Grays Ferry Crescent Greenway, an important link in the Schuylkill Banks Trail System and the larger Circuit network.
DVRPC also served as the PennDOT consultant project manager for this project. The Commission guided the project through PennDOT's review and approval process from awarding the funding through proceeding with the contractor.
DVRPC Partners with PECO to Study Impact of Electric Vehicles
PECO and DVRPC have partnered to analyze the impact of electric vehicles on the region's power grid. The study, being carried out by DVRPC with funding from PECO, will help DVRPC and PECO prepare for the increasing number of electric vehicles that are expected on the region's roads in the coming years.
"This new study looks at where the owners of these vehicles are likely to live and work and identifies where and when they are most likely to draw electricity from the electric distribution grid," said DVRPC Executive Director Barry Seymour. "DVRPC will continue to work to ensure that electric vehicles will be welcome, and will be a success in our region."
On June 5, DVRPC's Barry Seymour joined PECO President and CEO Craig Adams to announce the newest part of PECO's Smart Ideas program, PECO Smart Driver Rebates. The program will offer rebates and incentives to residential and business customers investing in new electric vehicle technology. Specifically, PECO will pay residential and business customers $50 per car simply for telling PECO they have purchased an electric vehicle. Additionally, PECO is offering government, institutional, and non-profit customers up to $3,000 toward the cost of installing public charging stations. These incentives will work to make the region friendlier and more accessible to electric car users.
From left to right: Mark Muehl, first recipient of a PECO rebate; Ben Franklin; Philadelphia Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Public Utilities Rina Cutler; DVRPC Executive Director Barry Seymour; and PECO CEO Craig Adams.
DVRPC to Serve as Local Sponsor of Transportation and Air Quality Summit
A cutting-edge transportation and air quality conference is coming to the Philadelphia region this summer, courtesy of the Federal Highway Administration, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and DVRPC. Scheduled for August 7 - 8 at Loew's Hotel in Philadelphia, the Northern Transportation and Air Quality Summit (NTAQS) will bring together stakeholders to discuss the current and upcoming regulatory environment, new technologies, and current practices. The content is geared toward practitioners in the northern and Mid-Atlantic states who are involved with public agencies at all levels. A host of speakers from the national and regional levels will present on key topics, best practices, and latest information vital to transportation, planning, and air quality professionals.
For more information and to register, visit /NTAQS.
Road Safety Audits Improve Corridors in North Philadelphia and Camden
DVRPC has completed a series of Road Safety Audits (RSAs) in the last month: a two-day, two-corridor audit in North Philadelphia and a one-day Pedestrian RSA in the City of Camden.
The North Philadelphia RSAs were completed for G Street and Kensington Avenue. Representatives from the City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, PennDOT, SEPTA, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, and the New Kensington CDC worked together to identify safety issues and develop improvement recommendations. These two locations were selected from PennDOT's 2010 High Crash Locations list.
The City of Camden Pedestrian RSA was held on Mt. Ephraim Avenue/CR 605, with a special focus on pedestrians and bicyclists, due to the frequency of these crash types on the corridor. Participants included representatives from the City of Camden, FHWA, NJDOT, Cross County Connections TMA, and more.
For more information on DVRPC's RSA program, contact Kevin Murphy, Principal Transportation Planner, at 215-238-2864 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Incident Management Task Force Celebrates 10 Years
On May 10, Blackwood Fire Company proudly hosted the 10th anniversary meeting of the New Jersey SAFR (Southern Area First Responders) Incident Management Task Force. This task force covers the corridors of NJ 42, NJ 55, I-76, I-676, and I-295. Dr. Harry Carter and Fire Police Officer (FPO) Steve Austin of The Emergency Responder Safety Institute were invited as special guests for the anniversary meeting, and spoke to the 50 members in attendance about current national trends regarding responder safety at highway incidents. Dr. Carter and FPO Austin also complimented the group on their accomplishments and level of cooperation, noting that this is not often seen in other areas of the country.
DVRPC has developed a Traffic Incident Management (TIM) program that facilitates Incident Management Task Forces (IMTF's) and provides software applications (RIMIS and IDRuM) to improve incident response and foster interagency coordination. DVRPC's TIM Program currently administers and supports corridor-based IMTFs, and serves as a clearinghouse for incident management activities. Through quarterly IMTF meetings, emergency responders overcome challenges by building relationships with each other. To date, DVRPC has offered training to nearly 1,000 responders. Guided by national incident management principles, the TIM Program is integrated into DVRPC's planning processes through the long-range plan, the Congestion Management Process, and the Transportation Operations Master Plan.
Photos from the May 10 meeting can be found here: http://www.blackwoodfire.org
For more information about the IMTFs, visit: /Transportation/TSMO/IncidentManagement/.