Photo by Kwan Hui, DVRPC

DVRPC News: April 2021

Volume 42, Issue 10

 

DVRPC’s Breaking Ground Conference Goes Online for 2021

Woman attending a virtual meeting on a laptop

The Breaking Ground conference series provides local examples and guidance for tools and techniques to implement the region’s long-range plan. This year’s conference is being held as a webinar series and will focus on strategies for equitable regional recovery and feature expert panelists, successful projects, and best practices.  

Session topics are timely and focused on the region’s long term recovery after COVID-19 and its impacts. Topics range from communities rethinking how to use streets to the need for increased access to broadband, and from extreme heat’s impact on vulnerable populations to downtowns that repurposed space to help businesses reopen.

The Breaking Ground technical assistance webinar series will take place from May 17 to June 14, 2021, and offered through the Zoom platform. Join DVRPC Board members, staff, local implementers, and national experts to learn about equitable recovery strategies. Webinar descriptions, confirmed speakers and registration links are available at www.dvrpc.org/BreakingGround.

 

Learn about COVID-19’s Impact on the Region’s Diverse Downtowns

Downtown Haddonfield, NJ

Beginning the week of March 15, 2021, one year into the pandemic’s economic fallout, DVRPC launched the Diverse Downtowns social media campaign to highlight and provide a detailed snapshot of 10 downtowns in Greater Philadelphia that were best able to weather the COVID storm. The campaign will run through the week of May 31, 2021.

Diverse Downtowns is the result of a recent analysis, which combined geolocated cell phone data with a retail inventory of 75 of the region's downtowns, to determine what impact the pandemic had on visits to and the trade areas of these downtowns. DVRPC found that more diverse downtowns were generally less impacted by the pandemic. 

On June 7, coinciding with the conclusion of the Diverse Downtowns campaign, DVRPC will host a technical assistance webinar as part of its 2021 Breaking Ground Conference. The webinar will consist of four panelists who will discuss strategies to ensure that the region’s downtowns are more resilient to future economic upsets by working to grow and diversify, build upon lessons learned, and understand how to capitalize upon rising trends within the retail industry.

Follow the #DiverseDowntown campaign on Twitter and Facebook. All of the study’s findings are also found on DVRPC’s COVID-19 Resources for Municipalities page and will be updated regularly.

 

Celebrate Trails Day in the Greater Philadelphia Region

Family walking on a trail wearing face coverings

Did you know that Saturday, April 24th is Celebrate Trails Day? Formerly called Opening Day for Trails, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy started the annual spring celebration of the nation’s trails in 2013. At DVRPC, we aim to build, improve, and expand trails throughout the region for all to enjoy through our Regional Trail Program’s investment in the Circuit Trails: Greater Philadelphia's 800-plus-mile network of multi-use trails. The Circuit Trails network not only provides access to the region's rivers, creeks and streams, but also allows safer and more efficient travel by bicycle or foot between homes, businesses, parks, schools and community centers all free from motorized traffic. 

Over the past decade, DVRPC’s Regional Trails Program has funded over 100 projects across the region. Some of the newest additions to the network include the Chester Creek Trail Levee Walk located in the City of Chester, PA: the new sidepath on the PA Route 29 Bridge linking Chester and Montgomery counties near Phoenixville, PA, and a five mile segment of the Delaware River Heritage Trail in Burlington County. DVRPC works with local governments and various non-profit organizations to make trails like these a reality through support of studies and planning, right-of-way acquisition, design, and construction.

For more information on the Circuit Trails, and to review which trails are currently available to explore near you, visit our web map here. This spring, please celebrate trail day by recreating responsibly and getting outside to enjoy the region’s many trails!

 

Help Identify Commuter Needs Along the Atlantic City Line Corridor 

Overhead view of Atlantic City, NJ

Do you think public transit could be improved between Philadelphia and Atlantic City? NJTransit (NJT) and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) are conducting a two-part surveying effort to better understand people’s commuting needs along the Atlantic City Rail Line (ACRL) corridor. 

The first part of the survey is targeted to employers. NJT and DVRPC need to hear from business owners, executives, Human Resource professionals, and other leaders at companies and organizations near the rail line’s train stations to identify commuter needs. A commuter-focused survey will be released later in March. 

The results of the two-part survey will go directly into an analysis carried out later in 2021 to determine transit schedule changes to better align rail and bus service with commuters’ needs. Please take the survey or share with a friend or colleague who can respond on behalf of their business or organization. 

To learn more about the surveying project, please visit www.dvrpc.org/acrlsurvey.

 

Goods Movement Task Force to Discuss the Future of Rail and the Former PES Refinery

Train motion blur

Join the Goods Movement Task Force virtual meeting on Wednesday, April 14th at 10am. This meeting will include presentations from industry leaders on current topics and the future of freight in the region.

Featured Speakers:

  • Dan Keen, Assistant Vice President, Policy Analysis at Association of American Railroads, will provide an update on rail industry trends and activity as the national economy works towards recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Jeremy Grey, Executive Vice President, Partner at Hilco Redevelopment Partners, will introduce The Hilco Redevelopment Partners’ proposed development at the former PES Refinery site into a new multi-modal logistics center.

Register for this meeting here, dvrpc.zoom.us/webinar/register/4016166759055/WN_11eg08rYQeGtYgXVHfay2w.

 

Upcoming Online LTAP Classes

Two-lane rural road

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. Classes are held by Pennsylvania and New Jersey LTAP programs, but are open to any municipality.

Upcoming online classes:

Roadway and Traffic Safety Improvement Program (Webinar)
April 13 and 14, 2021 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm)

Low Volume Pavement Design
April 28, 2021 (10:00 am – 11:30 am)

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

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

 

Elise TurnerAssociate Manager, Office of Communications and Engagement
Air Quality Partnership
COVID-19 Resources
Dispatches from Alternate Futures
DVRPC News

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