DVRPC News: March 2015

DVRPC News: The Newsletter of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission

Volume 36, Issue 8
March 2015


DVRPC Turns 50!

Article 1 DVRPC celebrates 50 years of planning for the Greater Philadelphia region this year. Looking back on our history can give us a renewed sense of purpose in our mission as we work to combat climate change, expand economic opportunities, and adequately fund a safe and efficient transportation network.

Stay connected throughout our golden anniversary year by following us on social media and visiting our website, where you can view a timeline of DVRPC throughout the years, upcoming events and opportunities, and our annual report featuring historic/modern hybrid photos from artist Eric Nagy. Keep an eye out for more ways to celebrate with us as June 30, the date our compact was signed, draws nearer!

We look forward to the next 50 years and invite you to engage with us as we create a shared vision for the future.


Learn About Building Livable Communities on March 12

Article 2 Join us on March 12th at the Union League in Philadelphia, for Breaking Ground 2015: Building Livable Communities in Greater Philadelphia: The Next 50 Years, DVRPC's conference designed for local planning partners, practitioners, developers, and decision-makers.

This one-day conference will feature an opening keynote by Harriet Tregoning, Director of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD's) Office of Economic Resilience, and a luncheon keynote on future retail and development trends by planning and retail specialist, Robert Gibbs, PLA, ASLA, CNU. Breakout sessions will explore a wide variety of topics including transportation, technology, health, manufacturing, climate change, and more. For detailed program information and to register, visit


Submit Your Photos to the 'I Love Classic Towns' Photo Contest!

Article 3 The I Love Classic Towns photo contest is in full swing. Participants from all over the region of all ages are invited to submit photos by simply posting a photo on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram that illustrates the uniqueness of these communities with the hashtag #iloveclassictowns. Cash prizes will be awarded to three photos selected by a panel of judges from the top 10 winners of a public online vote.

The deadline for submitting photos is April 5, 2015. Online voting will take place from April 6, 2015 to April 20, 2015, with formal judging and winners announced by May 4, 2015. Complete submission requirements and contest rules may be found on the Classic Towns website at


DVRPC Offers Free Sessions on Permitting and Zoning for Solar Energy Systems on March 19th

Article 4 You are invited to join DVRPC on March 19th at the Radnor Township Municipal Building in Wayne, PA, for two training opportunities on best practices for permitting and zoning for small-scale solar energy systems. At these sessions, you will learn about the benefits of implementing standardized and streamlined permitting and zoning practices, and develop a plan for incorporating these processes into your existing practices.

A standardized and streamlined permit process across the region will help lower the installed cost for solar PV for the applicant and save municipalities time and money on the review and inspection process. It also helps municipalities and the solar industry effectively manage and encourage the growing market for small-scale PV systems in southeastern PA. A zoning ordinance that specifically addresses solar energy will ensure that the siting of solar PV is compatible with the land use goals in your community.

Two free trainings will be offered, and participants may attend one or both sessions. The morning training will follow the Pennsylvania Association of Code Officials quarterly meeting (held from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m.). The first session on permitting training will be from 10:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., followed by lunch. The zoning training will run from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

To register, visit


DVRPC Awards $4.7 million to 10 Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects

Article 5 DVRPC, in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), has awarded $4,761,200 to ten local projects in southern New Jersey through the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) and Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program. The federal TAP funds community-based "non-traditional" projects designed to strengthen the cultural, aesthetic, and environmental aspects of the nation's intermodal transportation system. DVRPC elected to focus investments to fund bicycle and pedestrian facilities and multi-use trails. The federal SRTS Program funds projects and activities that support and encourage students to walk and bicycle to school.

To learn more and to view a list of selected TAP projects, visit For more information about SRTS projects, visit


DVRPC CMAQ Program Nationally Recognized for Innovative Best Practices in Reducing Air Pollution

Article 6 DVRPC was recognized for innovatively implementing the competitive Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program in a case study of best practices by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). FHWA surveyed nine state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations and determined four that best put the new MAP-21 CMAQ provisions into practice, highlighting DVRPC's transparent selection process that involved various stakeholder groups and ensured that a portion of projects was dedicated to reducing PM2.5 emissions.

The EPA notes that PM2.5 particles "are so small they can be detected only with an electron microscope. Sources of fine particles include all types of combustion, including motor vehicles, power plants, residential wood burning, forest fires, agricultural burning, and some industrial processes." Particle pollution can have serious health consequences for the region's residents. In order to reduce PM2.5 emissions, DVRPC's CMAQ program instituted a stakeholder engagement process in 2012 that resulted in awarding more than 25 percent of the available funds ($2.9 million) to retrofits of SEPTA and CSX diesel locomotives and Gloucester Marine Terminal diesel truck engines. The total emissions reductions from these projects are estimated at 258 kilograms (kg) per day.

Read more on DVRPC's innovative CMAQ Case Study here.


New Publications Now Available

Article 7 DVRPC recently published the Camden County Bicycle and Multiuse Trails Plan and the 2013 Annual Crash Data Bulletin for the Delaware Valley.

The bicycle plan identifies a network of trails and bicycle facilities that will connect bicyclists and other non-motorized users to amenities in Camden County, such as open space, schools, universities, train stations, shopping destinations, and employment. The plan provides guidance to the county and municipalities who are seeking to enhance local mobility and accessibility throughout the county. It maps existing facilities and lays out a network of facilities to be considered for future implementation.

The annual safety bulletin provides a snapshot of road safety and crash trends in the nine counties of the Delaware Valley region and the nation for 2013, and highlights select emphasis areas from the "Safety Action Plan." The goal of the bulletin, which synthesizes the most recent crash data, is to raise awareness of traffic crashes, discuss causal factors, and promote programs and agencies working toward improving safety.