DVRPC News: March – April 2014
Volume 35, Issue 9
March – April 2014
DVRPC Hosts "Investing in People and Places" Series, April 11
If you missed the first two "Investing in People and Places" events, mark your calendar for April 11 in Camden County. DVRPC, the Southern New Jersey Development Council, Select Greater Philadelphia, and other economic development leaders will discuss the region's economic development priorities. You'll hear from representatives from Vetri Restaurants, Virtua Health, Camden County College, and others. Topics will include public investment, job creation, and talent retention and attraction.
The series is part of DVRPC's effort to update the region's Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), which is required by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) every five years. Visit www.dvrpc.org/economic/ceds.htm for a full agenda with speakers and RSVP information. There is no cost to attend.
The first event of the "Investing in People and Places" series was held on March 14 in Philadelphia. Representatives from small businesses, including John and Kira's Chocolates and P'unk Ave, and large corporations such as AgustaWestland and Dow Chemical, shared their thoughts about the local business climate and how they ended up locating here. The second panel included economic development experts, such as Select Greater Philadelphia President and CEO Tom Morr. The suburban Pennsylvania event, held at Montgomery County Community College on March 20, included a discussion with representatives from IKEA, SEI Investment Company, and PJM. It is clear that Philadelphia's high quality of life, accessibility, and skilled workforce make it a great location for business.
The CEDS document will be available for public comment in August 2014.
Planning and Health Professionals to Discuss Building Healthy Communities, April 2
DVRPC and Health Promotion Council (HPC) will host a symposium on April 2 that will connect professionals from the fields of public health and planning to foster a better understanding among practitioners. Participants will learn about data sources, useful tools to better serve our communities, and successful collaborations.
Building and maintaining healthy communities requires an interdisciplinary approach to land use planning – recognizing that where a person lives can affect that person's health. DVRPC seeks to improve transportation, promote smart growth, protect the environment, and enhance the economy so that we have a healthy and effective population. Investing in our region and supporting services is a big step toward health, as a more vibrant economy with strong infrastructure will enable more individual needs to be identified and met.
Visit www.dvrpc.org/health for a full agenda and to RSVP.
Classic Towns Website Relaunches with New Features
DVRPC celebrated the first day of spring by unveiling a new website for its Classic Towns program, designed to promote Greater Philadelphia's unique communities. The enhanced layout showcases many beautiful photos taken in the Classic Towns, while the intuitive navigation provides an easy way to explore the Towns, read the news, and discover events in the region's historic places.
Each Classic Town has its own extended page, giving an overview of its storied past and vibrant present. Those in the market for a new home can view the availability of the housing stock at a glance, while a Town's unique Walk Score® shows that shops, restaurants, and local goods and services are within an easy stroll. The Town's economic contribution to the region and its major employers are highlighted, as well as notable activities and leisure destinations. The calendar has been updated to a new dynamic format that displays upcoming events, while news articles and outside resources complete the picture of life in a Classic Town.
The new website also features a continually updated blog. The interesting cultural events, awards, planning projects, and distinctions presented provide additional opportunities for engagement, as well as incentives to visit these lively communities.
Let DVRPC serve as your resource to the Classic Towns of Greater Philadelphia. Check out the new and improved website at www.classictowns.org.
Help the Air Quality Partnership win the EPA's EnviroFlash Challenge
EnviroFlash is an email alert system operated by the U.S. EPA, Air Now, and partner agencies across the nation that provides daily air quality forecasts. The forecasts for the DVRPC region are provided by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Penn State University through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
Users can sign up to receive a daily forecast or to be notified by email when the Air Quality Index (AQI) reaches Code Orange, which signifies unhealthy levels of ozone and fine particle pollution. The alerts are important for people with cardiac or respiratory disorders, senior citizens, and households with children, as these groups are especially susceptible to the effects of air pollution.
The EPA is running the Enviroflash Challenge in April and May to encourage more people to sign up for the alerts. By being aware of air quality conditions, at-risk groups can take steps to reduce air pollution levels and protect their health. Support a healthy environment in Greater Philadelphia by encouraging your employees, associates, and stakeholders to utilize the EnviroFlash system and help the Air Quality Partnership win the 2014 EnviroFlash Challenge!
Sign up for Enviroflash at www.airqualitypartnership.org.
New Guide Available on Funding Multi-Use Trails in Southeastern Pennsylvania
DVRPC is excited to share Funding Trails: A Guide to Funding Multi-Use Trails in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Trails are an important component of the region's multimodal transportation network. They provide an alternative to motorized transportation, and offer their users multiple benefits, including improved health, stronger communities, and access to natural areas and green space. DVRPC included completion of the Circuit, an envisioned 750-mile regional network of multiuse trails, in its most recent long-range plan, Connections 2040: Plan for Greater Philadelphia.
As part of its Regional Trails Program, DVRPC has awarded over $9 million to 42 multiuse trail planning, design, and construction projects throughout Greater Philadelphia. The program, administered by DVRPC, with funding from the William Penn Foundation, capitalized upon opportunities for trail development by providing funding for priority trail design, construction and planning projects that promote a connected, regional network. The program also provides technical assistance to trail developers, counties, municipalities, and nonprofit organizations. In total, the Regional Trails Program will add 20 miles to the Circuit and move additional miles of trail from planning to final design.
To learn more about how your municipality can fund multiuse trails, visit www.dvrpc.org/Products/14039.
Transportation Alternatives Program Now Accepting Applications
The Pennsylvania and New Jersey Transportation Alternatives Programs (TAPs) in the DVRPC region will fund construction, planning, and design of on-road and off-road trail facilities for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other nonmotorized forms of transportation. TAP is also eligible for environmental and stormwater mitigation projects as they relate to transportation. In addition to DVRPC's priorities, additional eligible projects may be funded through statewide selection.
Pennsylvania TAP applications are due by April 4, 2014 and New Jersey TAP applications by May 15, 2014.
More information, including eligibility requirements, policy guidance, and the applications, can be found at www.dvrpc.org/tap.
New Jersey Safe Routes to School Program Now Accepting Applications
The New Jersey Safe Routes to School Program funds projects that enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school; to make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation alternative. The program encourages a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age; and facilitates the development and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of New Jersey's primary and middle schools (Grades K-8).
Visit www.dvrpc.org/SafeRoutes for more information.
Open Government and Engaging the Public
Technology is changing the way planning is conducted and open government is reshaping community engagement. Citizens now can access extensive information online and make use of government data, application processes, review procedures, and project commenting. Learn how this affects the planning commission's role as the interface between government and the public during a live webinar viewing on April 28, 2014 at the Gloucester County Planning Commission in Clayton, NJ. The program also will look at the developing concept of participatory budgeting. This event offers 1.5 AICP CM credits.
Click here to register.