DVRPC News: May 2019
Volume 40, Issue 10 | May 2019
DVRPC Opens Funding Opportunity for Projects that Reduce Congestion and Improve Air Quality
Earlier in April, DVRPC opened a competitive funding round for the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Program for the five-county southeastern Pennsylvania part of the region, which includes Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia. The FY2019 TIP for Pennsylvania has made $25 million available for the FY2019 Competitive CMAQ Program for Pennsylvania, for transportation projects that will improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion.
Examples of eligible CMAQ projects include congestion reduction and traffic flow improvements, pedestrian and bicycle projects, transportation control measures, and public education and outreach activities, and more.
CMAQ Competitive Program application forms and program guidance are available now at www.dvrpc.org/CMAQ. Mandatory pre-application meetings must be completed by May 31, 2019. All application materials must be submitted by June 28, 2019.
Show us your #greencommute this Air Quality Awareness Week
This week (April 29 to May 3) is Air Quality Awareness Week, which marks the start of ozone season. Greater Philadelphia does not currently meet the federal air standards for ground-level ozone. It is critical to take steps to reduce air pollution for numerous reasons ranging from an individual’s personal health to the region’s eligibility for federal transportation dollars. The Air Quality Partnership has also launched a photo contest to encourage commuters to rethink their travel’s impact on local air quality.
From now until June 20, upload a photo of your #greencommute (i.e. walking, bicycling, taking transit, carpooling) to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Anyone from the DVRPC region who uploads a photo with the hashtag #greencommute will be entered into a random drawing for one of four $50 Dunkin Donuts gift cards. Employees of DVRPC, Board Members (appointed and alternate), and their families, are not eligible to win one of the gift cards.
To look at the #greencommute contest entries or to review the full contest rules, please visit www.airqualitypartnership.org/GreenCommute.
Four Organizations Honored for Sustainability Efforts
To celebrate local best practices to reduce air pollution, four organizations in Greater Philadelphia will receive the Air Quality Partnership’s 2019 Air Quality Excellence Awards. They are:
Chester County, West Chester, Pennsylvania: Chester County offers commuter benefits to employees, and encourages vanpooling, carpooling, and biking to work. The County’s comprehensive plan, Landscapes3, supports a multimodal transportation system that provides options for all, improves public health, and helps mitigate climate change.
Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Saint Joseph’s University encourages alternate transportation to its students through a subsidized shuttle to and from the Overbook train station, and carsharing vehicles and bike racks on campus. The University’s Green Fund implements ideas from students, faculty, and facilities to create new sustainability changes on campus.
Flying Fish Brewery, Somerdale, New Jersey: Flying Fish has established sustainable practices throughout the company. The brewery uses solar electricity, high-efficiency lighting, and recycles most materials. Last year, more than two million pounds of spent barley was donated to a local dairy farmer to feed the animals.
Sustainable Princeton, Princeton, New Jersey: Sustainable Princeton staff reduce their transportation-related fuel emissions by using environmentally responsible modes, such as biking and walking, carpooling, and driving electric or hybrid vehicles. The nonprofit establishes sustainable practices within its own office and makes each event they organize, a zero waste event.
To learn more about the Air Quality Partnership and see the daily air quality forecast, visit www.airqualitypartnership.org.
DVRPC Staff Present at New Jersey TransAction Conference
Transportation planners and engineers represented DVRPC at the New Jersey TransAction Conference and Expo. This event hosted over 900 directors, planners, engineers, and operators to network and exchange ideas.
DVRPC staff presented on ongoing and recently completed projects, including the Burlington County Highway Master Plan and Crashes and Communities of Concern in the Greater Philadelphia Region. DVRPC staff participated on a number of panels with professionals from different NJ transportation agencies, including South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization, North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, New Jersey Department of Transportation, New Jersey Traffic Incident Management, and Transcom. Panel topics ranged from safe senior mobility to the use of real-time and archived operations data for congestion planning and incident management.
Learn more about DVRPC’s transportation planning work.
DVRPC and Montgomery County Attend Walkability Action Institute
DVRPC staff member, Christina Arlt, attended the Walkability Action Institute in Decatur, Georgia, as part of an interdisciplinary team with representatives from PennDOT, Montgomery County Health and Human Services, Montgomery County Planning Commission, and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
The multi-day Institute focused on making communities, regions, and states more walkable with assistance from elected officials and professionals in the public health, planning, and transportation fields. Teams from across the country learned from national walkability experts. Sessions focused on creating walkable communities for everyone, bringing health into MPO decision-making, an inclusive walk audit, data and performance measures, Safe Routes to School, and retrofitting suburban developments. At the end of the four-day training, DVRPC and its partners drafted a Team Action Plan to support walkability efforts in Montgomery County.
DVRPC Hosts Joint Meeting on Building a Resilient Supply Chain
The Delaware Valley Goods Movement Task Force (DVGMTF) and the Regional Community & Economic Development Forum (RCEDF) held a joint meeting on April 12. The two committees convened their members for a panel discussion about building a resilient supply chain. Featured panelists included Sarah Powell, Director of Emergency Management for Temple University; Maura Shenker, Director of Temple University’s Small Business Development Center; and Captain Scott Anderson, Commander of the Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay.
Powell discussed how Temple University prepares for disaster response ahead of time, while Shenker discussed how the Small Business Development Center can help small businesses mitigate the impact of natural disasters. Captain Anderson closed out the panel discussions with a presentation on the Coast Guard’s maritime restoration planning for the ports of the Delaware River. After these presentations, the group engaged in discussion about the panel presentations.
For more information about DVRPC’s committees, visit www.dvrpc.org/Committees.
Upcoming LTAP Classes in PA and NJ
The Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) provides technical information and expertise to help municipal governments use transportation funds more effectively, improve road maintenance, and increase roadway safety.
Upcoming PennDOT classes in Pennsylvania include:
Bridge Maintenance and Inspections
May 5, 2019 (8:00 AM – 3:00 PM)
Roadside Vegetation Control
May 9, 2019 (8:00 AM – 3:00 PM)
There are two upcoming New Jersey LTAP courses:
Design of ADA Curb Ramps and Pedestrian Access Routes
May 12, 2019 (8:30 AM – 4:00 PM)
Roadway and Traffic Safety Improvement Program
May 18, 2019 (8:30 AM – 4:00 PM)
Visit Rutgers’ CAIT website for a list of all New Jersey workshops and to register.
Staff Profile: Mike Ruane, Manager, Freight and Aviation Programs
What did you want to be when growing up?
I have no memories of anything in particular when I was younger, but starting in high school I wanted to be a landscape architect. I worked on a farm in Bucks County, and did landscape contracting projects with the farmer’s son. I enjoyed designing and constructing sites so much that I started my own firm, “Ruane Landscapes.” My first job involved converting a backyard overtaken by bamboo into a contemplative garden. Removing all the bamboo by hand was a big job!
Was landscaping your first job?
No, I helped out in the family business, a bait and tackle shop in Wrightstown, Bucks County.
How did you get into Planning?
I majored in Landscape Architecture at Penn State, and loved it. But I was drawn to city planning because I was interested in how large, public spaces were designed and functioned, and how they leveraged surrounding development. So I went to UPenn for a graduate degree in City and Regional Planning, with a focus on Community and Economic Development.
How did you end up at DVRPC?
I got an internship in the Office of Corridor Planning, working under Dave Anderson. I wasn’t necessarily interested in transportation planning, but I wanted to learn more, and I was able to offer design solutions to transportation infrastructure problems. My background in GIS helped a lot, too.
When did you make the connection with Freight?
I was giving a corridor study presentation and Ted Dahlburg (former Manager of the Office of Freight and Aviation) came up to me afterwards and complained that there were no trucks in it! That piqued my interest in how freight system issues are analyzed and communicated. A position in Freight opened up after I got my MCP, and I landed it.
With Ted’s retirement, you are now Manager, Freight and Aviation Programs. What is your vision for the work?
I have a threefold vision: 1) Keep the program strong – it’s got a great reputation at the national level; 2) Sustain and grow the Goods Movement Task Force – we have an impressive group of people who come to our quarterly meetings regularly, and I’d like to increase attendance by engaging even more public and private sector reps; and 3) Figure out where aviation fits – not many MPOs conduct aviation work, but we have been conducting aircraft counts and aviation planning for decades. How can we leverage that data and provide more resources to our partners in aviation, are some of the questions I am pursuing.
What’s the best work advice you’ve ever been given?
Keep it fun and light. That helps build relationships.
What’s your favorite freight project to date?
Philly Freight Finder, it’s my baby. I grew what started out as a web portal with a lot of freight data into a more substantial tool used by the industrial development and port communities to support and attract economic development to the region.
What three words best describe you?
Self-motivated, curious, and creative.
If you could be King of the Delaware Valley for a day, what would you declare?
No more complaining about trucks! If we want to live the life that we enjoy, we’re going to need trucks. Amazon Prime changed the dialogue on freight – people can now relate their consumption to deliveries.
Where would we find you after hours?
For the last eight years I’ve served on the board of Share Food Program, a nonprofit engaged in food distribution, education and advocacy, and recently helped them manage a transition in leadership. But otherwise, I’d be at home with my wife, Jenn, and daughter, Ella.