Photo by Miles Owen, DVRPC

DVRPC News: July 2021

Volume 43, Issue 1

 

DVRPC Board Elects Officers for FY 2022

Ben Franklin Bridge

At the June DVRPC Board meeting, new Board officers were elected for Fiscal Year 2022. They include:

Chair: The Honorable Louis Cappelli, Jr. is Commissioner Director of the Camden County Board of Commissioners and partner in the law firm of Florio, Perrucci, Steinhardt & Cappelli, LLC.

Vice Chair: Gina Burritt, appointed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to the DVRPC Board, is a Public Outreach Specialist at A.D. Marble, and is an appointed member of DVRPC’s Board.

Secretary: The Honorable Christine Reuther is a Councilmember with the Delaware County Council.

Treasurer: Leslie Floyd is the Director of the Mercer County Planning Division.

DVRPC welcomes the new Board officers and looks forward to their leadership and guidance this fiscal year. View the full Board list here.

 

Show DVRPC Your Favorite #DiverseDowntowns!

#DiverseDowntowns Photo Challenge

Greater Philadelphia’s #DiverseDowntowns are vibrant places with a mix of civic, cultural, office, residential and retail uses. They have varied architecture, bustling businesses, entertainment venues, and recreational opportunities. You can reach them by foot, bike, public transit, or car. DVRPC’s recent analysis found that these economically, physically, and socially diverse downtowns were generally more resilient during the recent COVID-19 shutdowns than downtowns that were less diverse. 

The #DiverseDowntowns Photo Challenge Giveaway is an opportunity for you to share what adds to the diversity and vibrancy of the region’s downtowns and Greater Philadelphia as a region. Take a photo of your favorite Diverse Downtown, then post on social media using the hashtag #DiverseDowntowns and you will have a chance to win a $50 gift card to a local business of your choice! 

Photos will be accepted between July 1, 2021 and August 12, 2021. Check out what photos have been shared and see the giveaway rules for details.

 

2050 Regional Population and Employment Forecasts Adopted

Construction site

The DVRPC Board has approved new population and employment forecasts for the Greater Philadelphia region through 2050. These forecasts, developed by DVRPC staff in collaboration with planning staff in the member counties and cities, are a key element of the Connections 2050 Long-Range Plan. From 2019 to 2050, the population of the nine-county DVRPC region is forecast to grow by 7.6%, or about 440,000 residents, while regional employment is expected to grow by 6.9%.

This is the first regional forecast to incorporate a new land use model, UrbanSim, which includes factors such as household demographics, housing costs, accessibility to jobs, and development capacity to allocate growth to small geographies. Among other capabilities, UrbanSim allows for analysis of the impact of development on transportation patterns and vice versa.

View the full population and employment forecasts through 2050 in DVRPC’s Data Navigator.

 

Apply for NJ Safe Routes to School Funding

Woman and child crossing the street

New Jersey Department of Transportation (NDOT) is now accepting applications for the 2022 New Jersey Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. It enables and encourages children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bike to school. Funding is available for the construction of infrastructure projects such as sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, multi-use paths, and traffic calming measures. 

To help local governments deliver successful transportation projects, NJDOT is offering workshops that will provide tips and strategies for applying for federal grants. Applications are due on October 14, 2021. See the SRTS website for more information.

 

Application Round Opens for PA Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program

Trail
Photo by Elizabeth He, DVRPC

DVRPC and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) have opened an application round for the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program. This competitive program provides federal funds for community-based “non-traditional” forms of surface transportation such as walking and biking. There is at least $18 million available statewide, and approximately $8 million available in the DVRPC region of the state.

A pre-application is due by August 16, 2021, and applicants must meet with a DVRPC project manager by September 15. Final applications are due on October 15, 2021. For more information, program guidance, and access to the application, visit DVRPC’s TA Set-Aside Program website and PennDOT’s website.

 

New Share-A-Ride Features and Incentives 

Group of people carpooling

Share a ride, earn rewards. It’s as simple as that. DVRPC has upgraded the Share-A-Ride (SAR) program software, which now includes new features and incentives provided to any employee who works in Southeastern Pennsylvania...for free. It’s effortless, economical, and environmentally friendly. All alternative transportation options are offered, from public transportation to carpools to bike routes. Any new registrant will automatically earn 1,000 points in rewards that can be used for dining, activities, drawings, shopping & services. Each trip recorded can earn points for over 2,000 possible rewards. Additionally, when employees record their shared trips, DVRPC accrues data on vehicle miles traveled (also known as VMT) reduction for air quality analyses.

The new SAR software is live starting July 1.

 

Upcoming Online LTAP Classes

Highway bridge under construction

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:

Slide-in Bridge Construction (Webinar)
June 7-8, 2021 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm)

Roadside Vegetation Control (Webinar)
July 12, 2021 (8:00 am – 11:00 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.

 

Staff Profile: Patty Elkis, Deputy Executive Director

Patty Elkis headshot
Photo by Kimberly Dean, DVRPC

What did you want to be growing up?
An airplane pilot, because my family took trips on planes. I thought it would be so cool to fly the plane and see the world.

What was your very first job?
Besides babysitting, I taught tennis. I also worked in the Naturalizer shoe store in the Cherry Hill Mall. Naturalizer was known for providing shoes to people with foot problems. I worked on commission, so I worked really hard.

What did you study in college?
I majored in Anthropology because, from traveling with my family, I was always interested in how people organized their lives in different cultures.

What brought you to DVRPC?
To answer that, I should start with what got me into planning…. I went back to school for a masters in city planning. I was drawn to the University of Pennsylvania’s program because it offered a concentration in “Appropriate Technology for Developing Countries.” To me, it was like Applied Anthropology. I liked the concentration because it was about working with a community in another country to identify solutions, rather than imposing ideas.

After grad school, I worked in a Development Town, Dimona, in Israel.

The City of Dimona received funding that could only be used for new kindergartens or sports facilities.  My job was to evaluate how the sports facilities were being used. I found that the sports facilities that also had programming associated with them were well used and well loved by the community. If not, the facility was not really used and was even vandalized. My evaluation showed two things, first that it wasn’t a good idea to just go in and build something that the community did not ask for or want, and second, that if you do build it, there needs to be programming attached to introduce into people’s lives and make it more useful.

I decided to leave International Planning and took a job with the Montgomery County Planning Commission, working as a community planner for three different communities -- a borough, a growing suburb, and a rural community. From that experience I learned about different challenges facing different types of development patterns.

Then, I took a job with SEPTA that was focused on expanding parking lots for its regional rail stations. I learned from that experience that a regional good (providing more parking spaces to encourage commuters to take transit), might not be perceived as a community benefit. Many communities did not want the expanded parking lots because they were worried about increased traffic, light pollution and stormwater runoff.

I then came to DVRPC as a regional planner.

What were your responsibilities? How have they changed over time?
My first assignment at DVRPC was to conduct the population and employment forecasts for 2020! I learned more on the job (nearly everything I learned about planning, I learned on the job.) I started to do environmental planning, first with greenway planning. I loved environmental planning and working with other people in the field. I became the first manager of the Office of Environmental Planning when the office was created. We grew that office by working directly with municipalities to provide environmental planning services, and tracking regional trends, such as acres of open space preserved and local dedicated open space funding programs. Over time, I had the opportunity to take on increasingly more responsibility to become Associate Director of Comprehensive Planning, Deputy Director of Policy, Planning and Programs, Director of Planning, and now the Deputy Executive Director. I am so excited and grateful for this opportunity, and am thinking about ways to boost our internal and external collaboration, how to continue to center DEIJ in our work, and how to support more implementation.

What’s your favorite part of your work?
Working with people on a planning project -- trying to solve a problem in collaboration with people.

What three words best describe you?
Caring, intuitive, tenacious.

What’s something colleagues might not know about you?
That I’m a certified yoga instructor.

What’s your life/work philosophy?
You can learn a lot by listening to people.

Fantasy career?
If I wasn’t a planner, I’d like to combine alternative medicine with yoga and psycho-therapy and be a holistic healer.

Last book read?
Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri.  I’ve read all her books.

Cat or dog person?
I’m definitely a dog person. I grew up with Great Danes. The first dog I got as an adult was a Saint Bernard. Now I have a Golden Retriever. I always have to have a big dog in my life.

Where can we find you after hours or on the weekends?
Walking my dog, on my yoga mat, or visiting a microbrewery with my family. I also brew my own beer. If I ever had my own label, I’d call it “Baby Bhujangasana Beer” because I love an alliteration.  Bhujangasana is the Sanskrit word for  “cobra pose” in yoga, and the label would have a cute little baby cobra on it.

 

Elise TurnerAssociate Manager, Office of Communications and Engagement
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