DVRPC News: July 2015
Volume 36, Issue 12
Input Needed on Long-Range Plan, NJ TIP, and Transportation Conformity
This summer, DVRPC will open a 30-day public comment period for the following:
- Draft FY 2016-2019 New Jersey Transportation Improvement Program (NJ TIP)
- Draft Amendments to the Long-Range Plan, Connections 2040
- Draft Transportation Conformity Finding
- NJDOT Draft FY 2016 - 2025 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)
The public comment period will open on July 9, 2015 and close at 5 p.m., August 10, 2015.
DVRPC will also host two public meetings on these important documents that guide growth in the region. The first will be on July 23, 2015 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at DVRPC's offices, 190 N. Independence Mall West, 8th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Web conference is available for the July 23rd public meeting. Please register by July 16, 2015 by contacting 215-592-1800 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The second meeting will be on July 30, 2015 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Cherry Hill Library, 1100 Kings Highway North, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034.
Comments must be submitted in writing and may be emailed to email@example.com, faxed to 215-592-9125, or submitted online at:
For more details, contact Alison Hastings, Manager of the Office of Communications and Engagement, at 215-238-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share What You ❤ About Where You Live
To commemorate 50 years of planning and share what we love about our region, DVRPC is hosting an online photo sweepstakes during the month of June. Submit a photo that answers the question, "What do you love about Greater Philadelphia?" on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and use the hashtags #OurRegionMyHome and #DVRPCis50. You will automatically be entered to win one of two GoPro cameras. Visit www.dvrpc.org/50 for details.
Join us for our 50th Anniversary Celebration on June 30
On June 30th, DVRPC will celebrate its 50th Anniversary date with a public event from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Dilworth Park in Philadelphia. We will celebrate civic engagement through our interactive photo booth and commemorate regional planning in the metropolitan area. A brief press conference with local leaders will be held at 9:30 a.m. Stop by to snap a fun picture, see photos from our photo campaign, and help us celebrate our golden anniversary!
$1.3 Million Approved for Regional Trails
DVRPC approved over $1.3 million for ten Pennsylvania trail projects as part of Phase IV of the Regional Trails Program. The program, funded by the William Penn Foundation, aims to continue implementation of The Circuit, a planned 750 mile region-wide network of bicycle and pedestrian trails connecting Greater Philadelphia. The awards will fund design, construction and right-of-way analysis studies to support the completion of a high-quality, off-road trail system for travel by bicyclists and pedestrians. Project selection was based on multiple rounds of coordination with the counties including field views of all the projects. The first round of NJ projects is anticipated to begin later in the year.
For the full list of the projects and awards, visit www.dvrpc.org/RegionalTrailsProgram.
In conjunction with the grants, DVRPC also approved a PA TIP action to create the Circuit Line Item. All six of the Regional Trails Program design grants, and one additional project, will be included in the line item. The line item will program $5 million in CMAQ funding in FY2019/2020 from which listed projects will be eligible to draw on for construction.
Regional Safety Task Force Focuses on Young Driver Safety
DVRPC's Regional Safety Task Force met in early June to share ways Pennsylvania and New Jersey are addressing the safety of teenage drivers. While annual teen traffic fatalities are trending downward, crashes remain the leading cause of death for teens.
All states and the District of Columbia have a three-stage graduated driver's license system. This system allows teens to gradually gain exposure to complex driving situations, easing them into driving over an extended period of time. Analysis shows that adopting these laws leads to substantial decreases of crashes for this age group – anywhere between 20 and 50 percent.
Every year, PennDOT hosts teen safe driving competitions around Pennsylvania. Young drivers compete for scholarship money, prizes and the chance to take part in the statewide competition. The state has also put together a Parent's Supervised Driving Guidebook [pdf] to guide parent's direction of their teen drivers.
Across the river, New Jersey has seen great success from its Share the Keys program, which reduces teen driver crash risks through increased parental involvement. More information about the program, including how to become a facilitator, is available at www.njteendriving.com/share-the-keys. Gloucester County also hosted a safe driving video contest. Teens make short videos about safe driving, which are then aired at a local movie theater and as public service announcements on television.
Both Pennsylvania and New Jersey are committed to ensuring teen driver safety and are continuously introducing legislation to address safety concerns.
The full meeting agenda is available here [0.8 MB pdf].
Traffic Incident Management Conference Draws 200 Emergency Responders and Transportation Officials
The day kicked off with a welcome by Commissioner Derrick Sawyer of the Philadelphia Fire Department and Deputy Commissioner Thomas Wright of the Philadelphia Police Department. The conference highlighted various aspects of the incident timeline and promoted the need for cooperation and a unified incident command structure so that responders can perform their jobs efficiently, and more importantly, safely. The keynote was delivered by Dr. Burton A. Clark, EFO, who gave a compelling speech about safety culture and how first responders should improve their personal safety by always wearing seatbelts. Dr. Clark was in the fire service for 44 years, and is the author of the book I Can't Save You But I'll Die Trying: The American Fire Culture. The day wrapped-up with an outdoor vehicle display, which included two 80+ ton rotator tow trucks, the Field Communications Unit from the Philadelphia Fire Department, Safety Service Patrol Trucks from NJDOT and PennDOT, a Mack 4,000-gallon Universal Gold Foam Tender from the Mount Laurel Fire Department, and more.
For more information on incident management activities at DVRPC, click here.
Dozens Brainstorm Philly Transportation Apps at Hackathon
On June 6th, 2015, thousands of people located in about 100 communities across the United States participated in the National Day of Civic Hacking. Organized by Code for America, the event brought together civic hackers, government staff, planners, developers, designers, and community organizations, who all have a strong desire to improve their city through collaboration, data, and technology.
Code for Philly and SEPTA partnered together to hold a weekend-long hackathon, Apps for Philly Transportation 2015: Hackathon, surrounding the National Day of Civic Hacking. This year's event had a focus on improving and enhancing public transit throughout Philadelphia.
A kickoff event was held Friday, June 5th at The Porch at 30th Street Station where about 50 people learned how technology can improve transportation within Philadelphia. Among other initiatives, attendees were able to pitch and vote for project ideas and learn about the 27 new datasets that the City of Philadelphia and DVRPC prepared for the weekend's hackathon.
Additionally, a panel of experts discussed how the projects and apps that are developed at hackathons are changing the way planners and governments can share data and use technology for planning, public engagement and outreach.
On Saturday and Sunday, coders gathered together at SEPTA's Center City headquarters to work on several prototype projects, utilizing data provided by SEPTA, the City of Philadelphia, and DVRPC.
There were a number of prototypes developed during the event, including:
- "Transpo_Art" – a fun visualization of SEPTA vehicle and Indego bike share data
- SEPTA.Ninja – a mobile-friendly tool for passengers to share delay information with each other and with SEPTA
- Progress on an open multi-modal trip planner that Kat Killebrew from CyclePhilly and Azavea has been working on
- Parkadelphia, a web tool to allow would-be parkers to look up and plan around street parking regulations.
Help Greater Philadelphia Become More Bike-Friendly
Last year's launch of the CyclePhilly smartphone application provided a valuable glimpse into the bicycling habits of Greater Philadelphia. From May to October 2014, hundreds of bicyclists used CyclePhilly to record thousands of trips, allowing DVRPC's planners to see where people rode (to the closest intersection) and why. The app automatically mapped all of the routes, which can be broken down by trip purpose.
Check out the CyclePhilly 2014 data summary.
If you missed using the app last year, you have another chance to provide information that could inform future bicycle infrastructure investments. Download the CyclePhilly app today, press record, and go! Log a trip from May to October 2015 to be entered to win a GoPro camera. For more information, contact Cassidy Boulan at 215-238-2832 or email@example.com.
Ride. Record. Reimagine your Routes with CyclePhilly at www.cyclephilly.org.
DVRPC Staff Profile
Karin Morris, Manager, Office of Smart Growth
Karin Morris was selected as one of the German Marshall Fund Urban and Regional Policy Fellows for 2014, and visited the UK on a professional exchange this spring.
What is the German Marshall Fund? The German Marshall Fund of the U. S. was created in 1972 through a gift from the German government to the United States to fund transatlantic dialogue and professional exchanges honoring the Marshall Plan, which was the U. S. effort to rebuild European economies after WWII. Six Urban and Regional Policy Fellows were chosen for 2014-2015.
What was your professional exchange about? My research and exchange was on age-friendly cities and communities, using a framework developed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO offered the first global policy response to both aging in cities and rapid urbanization, and now partners with AARP in the United States to promote age-friendly places. I traveled to the United Kingdom, to Manchester and London, which are known as age-friendly cities (and in the case of London, the first dementia-friendly world capital), to examine their age-friendly efforts in housing, transportation, and public spaces. I wanted to discover what planners here in the U. S. can do to facilitate more age-friendly places and practices, as we, too, have what's sometimes called the "silver tsunami" coming our way.
What did you find out? Do you have any favorite examples of projects or practices? First, I learned that how you frame the issue really matters. Rather than using a health model that focuses on deficits and needs, and older adults as patients or customers, a better model is older adults as citizens, with rights to the city as social, civic, and economic contributors. Second, I believe that planners should embrace age-friendly as part of the wider sustainability agenda, looking at how communities can sustain people as they age. It is a different approach than we typically apply. Third, there is growing awareness of how important the physical and social environment is for security and support in later life, but there is still substantial work needed to link these aspirations to reality. This is where planners, developers, and policymakers can make a difference in how we plan, build, and retrofit our communities. As for projects and programs, three especially stood out. The first are the senior playgrounds in Manchester and London. These feature low-impact exercise equipment for flexibility and balance, and allow seniors to be outdoors, playful and social, and less isolated. Another are London's planned "Quietways," which are bike routes on backroads designed for people less confident of cycling on city streets or those who want to travel at a gentler pace. Third is London's Community Toilet Scheme – a program where local governments pay local businesses to allow public use of their restrooms. This public-private partnership includes wayfinding signage and decals for businesses indicating they participate in the scheme. While this may seem trivial, the lack of accessible toilets can mean the difference between confidently navigating the city and not going out. These are just three examples of many that enable older people to remain active, engaged, and visible within their communities.