DVRPC News: February 2016
Volume 37, Issue 7
$20M Available for Projects that Reduce Congestion, Improve Air Quality
On January 21, DVRPC opened a competitive funding round for the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Program. This year, the CMAQ Program will award a total of $20 million in the Delaware Valley's five Pennsylvania counties to projects that will improve air quality and/or reduce traffic congestion.
Examples of eligible CMAQ projects include pedestrian and bicycle projects, transit improvement programs, congestion reduction and traffic flow improvements, diesel retrofit projects, and funding of transportation demand management programs, among others. Public agencies and private – public partnerships with a public agency sponsor are eligible to apply for the CMAQ competitive program funds.
CMAQ program application forms and program guidance are available at www.dvrpc.org/cmaq. The application period will remain open until 5:00 PM on April 21, 2016. All applicants will be expected to attend a mandatory information session on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 4:00 PM at the DVRPC Offices at 190 N. Independence Mall West, 8th floor, Philadelphia, PA 19106. For additional information on how to apply, FHWA created a video about how CMAQ funds are distributed to states, and the types of projects eligible for the CMAQ program. The training is available here.
Please direct questions to Sean Greene, Manager, Air Quality Programs, at email@example.com or 215-238-2860.
Public Comment Period Open for Draft Amendments to 2015 PA TIP and Conformity Finding
DVRPC is seeking public input on the drafts of two documents: FY15 PA Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Amendments and FY15 PA TIP Transportation Conformity Finding Addendum. The public comment period opened on January 13 and will close at 5:00 PM on February 16, 2016. The DVRPC Board will be asked to act on these documents at their meeting on February 25.
The TIP is the federally required, regionally agreed-upon list of priority transportation projects. DVRPC is amending the FY15 PA TIP to incorporate schedule changes to two regionally significant projects: I-95 & Aramingo Avenue, Adams Avenue Connector MPMS #17782 in Philadelphia and Plank Road/Otts Road/Meyers Road/Seitz Road Intersection Improvements MPMS #57851 in Montgomery County. Both projects will be advancing to the construction phase in FY16. Fiscal constraint of the TIP will be maintained. Transportation Conformity is the process that ensures that plans and programs receiving federal aid are consistent with the region's air quality goals. The Transportation Conformity Finding must be amended to reflect the scheduled changes to the projects in the TIP.
The full public notice, including contact information to formally register your input and comments, is available at www.dvrpc.org/GetInvolved/PublicNotices/2016-01_Conformity.htm.
APA Webinar Screening on Community Planning to be Held on February 17
DVRPC subscribes to the American Planning Association's webinar series as part of its efforts to provide free or low-cost continuing education opportunities to the region's planning community. On February 17, DVRPC is screening the APA webinar "New Visions for Community Planning" at the Montgomery County Planning Commission from 3:45 PM to 5:30 PM. This national webinar, cosponsored by APA and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, will feature planning commissioners, mayors, and planners from across the nation who will share their experiences implementing bold urban designs, fresh sustainability initiatives, and new economic development strategies. The webinar provides 1.5 CM credits for AICP-certified planners. Register or find more information at www.dvrpc.ticketleap.com/new-visions-for-community-planning.
Upcoming February LTAP Classes
The PennDOT Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) provides technical information and technological expertise to help municipal governments use transportation funds more effectively, improve road maintenance, and increase roadway safety. Two LTAP classes will be held in the Delaware Valley Region in February.
Work Zone (Temporary) Traffic Control (Chester County)
East Brandywine Township Building
1214 Horseshoe Pike, Downington, PA 19335
February 3, 2016 (8:00 AM – 12:00 PM)
Attendees MUST bring a copy of PennDOT Publication 213 —Temporary Traffic Control Guidelines (June 2014 edition) to the class.
Warm Mix Asphalt (Bucks County)
Northhampton Township Complex
55 Township Road, Richboro, PA 18954
February 23, 2016 (8:00 AM – 12:00 PM)
To register, please visit www.dot7.state.pa.us/LTAP.
DVRPC Debuts Interactive Online Tool: Philly Freight Finder
To enhance the visibility and depth of information about the Delaware Valley's extensive freight system and the goods it transports, DVRPC recently debuted a new and improved version of its freight planning tool, PhillyFreightFinder. A year-long effort led to the addition of 13 new data sets into a centralized and easy-to-use resource, thereby helping DVRPC's partners and the public explore and better understand the Philadelphia-Camden-Trenton freight network. PhillyFreightFinder, one of the Commission's most innovative and detailed web mapping applications, now offers several different options for user interface, including:
- County Profiles – Each of the nine counties in the Delaware Valley is profiled. Users can select their county and see the locations of freight facilities like airports, rail yards, and freight centers; the volume and kinds of goods those facilities handle; and the county's biggest trading partners regionally and nationally.
- Regional Map – The zoomable and clickable map aggregates multiple kinds of data, making it an excellent starting point for users curious about freight facilities, communities, and the patterns of trade throughout our area.
- Highway Performance – This feature provides information about the efficiency of the region's highway system for freight-hauling trucks. Users can view color-coded maps of highway performance indices and see how average travel time and speed change over the course of a day on our major routes.
- Maritime Indicators – This tool lets users view statistics for all of the region's marine terminals, including the number of ship calls, trade volume, value of foreign and domestic trade, and more. It also provides the option of viewing maritime activity over time, making it easy to track trends and changes.
PhillyFreightFinder is an open-source application, meaning that other regions can easily and cost-effectively replicate the template. Visit www.dvrpc.org/webmaps/PhillyFreightFinder to start exploring the Delaware Valley's freight network! For more information about PhillyFreightFinder, contact Michael Ruane (firstname.lastname@example.org), DVRPC Office of Freight and Aviation Planning.
New Webmap and Overview Available for the Congestion Management Process (CMP)
The Congestion Management Process, or CMP, is a systematic way to manage congestion. It analyzes the regional transportation network, identifies congested corridors, and lists specific multimodal strategies to minimize congestion and enhance the ability of people and goods to reach their destinations.
The CMP helps identify where investments are needed for the whole region to prosper and move toward its long-term vision. It informs the selection of projects to include in the regional Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), helps make investments as effective and long-lasting as possible, and provides useful analysis and assistance coordinating with transportation planning partners. The CMP advances the goals of the long-range plan, and provides medium-term planning to strengthen the connection between the Plan and the TIP.
To make it easier to access the CMP, including the congested corridors, recommended strategies, summaries of analysis, and references to prior corridor studies, DVRPC created an interactive webmap for planners, local officials, and citizens: www.dvrpc.org/webmaps/cmp2015.
For more information, see the CMP Overview here.
Tips to Reduce Air Pollution and Health Impacts from Wood Smoke
As the weather gets colder, many people burn wood for heat in fireplaces, stoves, or outdoor boilers. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection recommends following these guidelines for burning wood at home in order to minimize the impact on air quality:
- Allow wood to season (sit outdoors for at least six months) before burning it.
- Use a wood moisture meter to test the moisture content. Wood burns most efficiently when its moisture content is below 20 percent.
- Keep wood stacked off the ground and covered to protect it from rain and snow.
- Start fires with newspaper and dry kindling. Keep fires hot.
- Remove ashes to ensure proper air flow.
- Never burn garbage, cardboard, plastics, wrapping materials, painted materials, or pressure-treated wood in your stove or fireplace.
- Keep flammable items away from wood-burning appliances and have a fire extinguisher nearby.
- Consider using an indoor air HEPA filter in the same room as a stove or fireplace.
To reduce exposure to fine particles from wood smoke, upgrading to an EPA-certified wood stove or fireplace inset is recommend. Find more tips at www.epa.gov/burnwise/burn-wise-best-burn-practices.
DVRPC Honored as Company of the Year
DVRPC was recently recognized as The Traffic Club of Philadelphia's 2016 Company of the Year due its leadership in promoting a multi-modal transportation system and its ongoing freight planning program. Founded in 1908, the Traffic Club is a professional association that serves the freight transportation, supply-chain, and logistics industries in the Philadelphia Tri-State region. DVRPC Executive Director Barry Seymour accepted the award on behalf of DVRPC at the Traffic Club's Annual Dinner.
Laurie Matkowski named President, ITS Pennsylvania Board of Directors
DVRPC's Laurie Matkowski has been elected President of ITS Pennsylvania's Board of Directors, a testament to both her and the Commission's national leadership in transportation operations planning and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). Laurie has served on the ITS Pennsylvania Board for five years and will continue to promote collaboration with all public and private agencies as she does in her role as Manager of DVRPC's Office of Transportation Operations Management.
ITS Pennsylvania is a society of professionals dedicated to the development and deployment of ITS in Pennsylvania. ITS encompass a broad range of advanced transportation tools, including wireless and wireline communications, information processing, control, and electronic technologies integrated into vehicles and the transportation system. ITS improve safety, maximize mobility, inform travelers, and enhance the security of our transportation network. By promoting and advancing these systems, ITS Pennsylvania helps to provide safe and efficient transportation for the Commonwealth.
To learn more about ITS Pennsylvania, please visit their website at www.itspennsylvania.com.
Staff Profile: Ryan Gallagher, Assistant Manager, Office of Project Implementation
What does the Office of Project Implementation do at DVRPC?
We assist local government project sponsors in developing what we call non-traditional projects through the design and development process. Non-traditional projects are not highways or bridges, they are the smaller scale projects – streetscapes, multi-use trails, bike lanes, historic train station renovations, and even canal restoration projects that take place throughout the region. PennDOT leans on us to support implementing their funding programs such as the Transportation Alternatives Program - TAP, (and previously Hometown Streets, Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements, and PCTI) that fund projects for local governments. We also provide hands-on guidance and assistance to local project sponsors during the grant application process. Municipalities do not always have someone on staff with experience and expertise to navigate a project through all the necessary steps involved in using federal and state funding. That's where we step in, we know what is needed and we guide project sponsors through all the required steps, coordination, and documentation to get these projects designed and constructed.
What is your background, and how did you end up at DVRPC doing this work?
My educational background is in Civil Engineering, which I was drawn to because of my interest in the built environment and how things are constructed. I received my Bachelors and Masters in Civil Engineering from Villanova. Right out of college, I worked in the construction industry doing surveying and inspections. I especially liked seeing how a project came together. In grad school, I was a TA for a Design Software Lab, and that experience with design led to a desire to do design project management. I enjoyed learning about all the components of engineering, but when a classmate, Keith Hartington, who was already working at DVRPC, told me about a new job posting that involved overseeing the design process that leads to construction, I jumped at the opportunity. That was in 2004, when I joined one other engineer in the Office of Project Implementation. Our services were initially requested by PennDOT, and we have grown to an office of five over the last ten years.
What is the biggest challenge you face in the Office of Project Implementation?
Usually, it's the tight timeline to complete these projects – two to three years before the funding expires. Even though these projects are not as big or expensive as highways and bridges, they still take significant time to design, to acquire right-of-way (if needed), to document all the steps, and to coordinate between the multiple agencies (for example - Army Corp of Engineers, DEP, PA Historic and Museum Commission, county conservation districts). Two to three years may sound like a sufficient amount of time, but all the steps to go through and agencies to coordinate with takes a significant amount of time.
What do people not know about you?
I enjoy surfing and snowboarding, and I usually take an annual snowboarding trip out west with fellow DVRPC colleagues. We are going to Telluride at the end of this month. Also, they probably don't know I feel very fortunate to be part of such a hard working agency, alongside colleagues who are all working toward the common goal of making our region an even better place to live, work, and play.