DVRPC News: January 2020

Volume 41, Issue 7  |  January 2020


Investing Across the Region:
Highlights from Fiscal Year 2019

Article 1 Article 1 DVRPC’s Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Report is now available as an interactive story and 2020 Wall Calendar.

The report highlights how DVRPC invested in projects across the region, such as investing in infrastructure with the Fiscal Year 2020 New Jersey Transportation Improvement Program, investing in partnerships with the Burlington Highway Master Plan update, and investing in multimodal transportation with the identification of greenway possibilities. The Annual Report also includes a list of products published in Fiscal Year 2019.

View the interactive story or read the full Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Report.


Last Chance to Comment on DVRPC’s Work Program

Article 2 DVRPC is currently seeking public input on the Draft Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Planning Work Program. The public comment period closes on January 7, 2020. For information about submitting a comment, see the public notice.

The Work Program outlines all of the federally funded planning projects for the nine-county region from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. The document is developed annually by the DVRPC Board with its planning partners to reflect the region’s short-range planning needs. The electronic version of the document is available on the DVRPC website. Hardcopies are also available in the DVRPC Resource Center and in a number of regional libraries.


New Study Examines Truck Traffic in the Kennett Area

Article 3 The Kennett Area of Chester County, Pennsylvania is recognized for its charming, small-town feel and rural character. It’s also known as the “mushroom capital of the world.” This area plays a dynamic role in the regional economy as a national center for mushroom production, as well as the packaging and distribution of refrigerated fruits and vegetables.

The Kennett Area Freight Transportation Study provides recommendations that support economic growth and strengthen livable communities by ensuring safe, efficient movement of goods and people. The study examines freight conflicts and provides recommendations like traffic-calming strategies, designation of a local truck route network, and improvements to directional and truck restriction signage.

This report serves as a guide for the Kennett Area municipalities and Chester County to advance improvements that will enhance freight movement and better manage the community impacts of vital local industries.


Staff Profile: Miles Owen, Environmental Planner

Article 4 What did you want to be growing up?
I was all over the place – I wanted to be in the Coast Guard, a pilot, a history professor, and a veterinarian.

What was your first job?
Newspaper delivery at age 11. I partly grew up on a small farm outside of Nebraska City and delivered papers every day after school - rain, shine, or snow.

What did you study in college?
I majored in emergency medicine, training to be a paramedic.

I heard you served in the Peace Corps, tell me about that.
During my paramedic internships, I soon realized that I didn’t want to work in an ambulance and joined the Peace Corps. I was assigned to Fiji, and applied my background in emergency medicine as a health educator for hospital staff and residents. Living in Fiji was intense, and is an experience that I now appreciate, although I didn’t always enjoy. Serving in the Peace Corps in such a remote place took me away from modern day pressures and Western culture and exposed me to a completely foreign way of life – everything centered on community and extended family relationships. For example, in the Fijian language there are 100s of words for all the possible different familial links between extended family members, and there is a strict hierarchy attached to those relationships. One had to keep your head lowered as a sign of respect when entering a room with extended family members of a higher rank present. It was a big adjustment to stop doing this when I returned to the U.S.

How did you make the journey from emergency response to city planning?
In Fiji, I quickly discovered that my interest in emergency preparedness is directly connected to the built environment, how a city is laid out. For example, a city built in the floodplain is going to flood. I then realized that my true interest is in city planning, and how we can develop with sustainability and resilience in mind. When I returned from Fiji, I enrolled in Penn’s City Planning program.

How did you end up at DVRPC and what are you working on?
After studying at Penn for three years I knew that I really liked Philly as a city and wanted to stay. I landed the job in the Office of Environmental Planning and am working on climate change adaptation, public access on the Delaware River, and community forestry plans for towns in NJ – all projects right up my alley.

What three words best describe you?
Curious, engaged, relaxed

Is there something your colleagues don’t know about you?
I’ve a couple things here: I spent four months in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina doing disaster relief with AmeriCorps; I was a professional wildland firefighter and chainsaw operator with the Forest Service; and I’ve driven across country five times.

Are you a dog or cat person?
Dog. I grew up on a farm in Nebraska, and dogs were always a part of our life.

Do you have a life or work philosophy?
Yes, both - professionally, learn to say NO in order to focus on what’s most important; in life, learn to say YES to be open to new experiences.

You’ve driven across country five times, if you were to take a sixth trip, is there someone famous that you’d like as your passenger?
Yes, Dwight Eisenhower, because in WWI he took a convoy across country and experienced how difficult the trip was, and then as President he enacted the Interstate Highway Act to better connect places across the country. I’d be curious to hear his reaction to our highway system now.

What’s the last book you read?
“Blood in the Water” by Heather Ann Thompson. It’s a powerful, but sometimes hard-to-read book about the Attica Prison uprising of 1971 and its legacy.

Where would we find you after hours?
At the library, a bookstore, or taco place.


Upcoming LTAP Classes in PA and NJ

Article 5 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.

An upcoming PennDOT class in Pennsylvania is:

Stormwater Facility Operation and Maintenance
West Grove, PA
April 02, 2020 (8:00 AM – 12:00 PM)

Visit PennDOT's LTAP website to view the course descriptions and register. For any questions, contact Linda McNeffer at or 215-238-2872.

Visit Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation to see the 2020 schedule of LTAP courses in New Jersey.