Photo by Stephanie Cavacini, DVRPC

DVRPC News: September 2022

Volume 44, Issue 3

 

Nationwide Search Begins for New DVRPC Executive Director

A photograph the Schuylkill River taken from the South Street Bridge at sunset
Photo by Spencer K. Gober, DVRPC

Earlier this year, DVRPC Executive Director Barry Seymour announced his plans to retire after 32 years at the organization. He has served as Executive Director for 16 years.

A committee composed of DVRPC Board members is overseeing the recruitment process. They have retained the executive search firm, GovHR, to conduct a nationwide search to identify candidates with the right combination of skills and experience. The Executive Director will lead a team of up to 120 staff members who develop and administer the $30 million operating budget and advance DVRPC’s mission to increase mobility choices, protect and preserve natural resources, and create healthy communities that foster greater opportunities for all.

Learn more about this opportunity and view the job posting on DVRPC’s website

 

SEPTA’s Wawa Station Opens

General Manager of SEPTA Leslie Richards speaks at a podium during the opening celebration of Wawa Station
Photo by Timothy Phelps, TMACC

SEPTA’s new Wawa Station opened for service on Sunday, August 21, 2022. Located at 1490 W. Baltimore Pike, the station restores 3.5 miles of Regional Rail service to the Media-Elwyn line, now called the Media/Wawa line in recognition of its new terminus of service. This extension restores service to an area of Delaware County that has not had access to train service since 1986. It is also the first SEPTA Regional Rail service extension since 1985.

The new station building is fully ADA accessible and includes a pedestrian underpass and restroom facilities. It also includes a 600-space parking deck, which will be free through the end of the year, and signalized access to Route 1. Additionally, the station can be reached by SEPTA bus routes 111 and 114. 

DVRPC previously studied this area, including ridership forecasts, a transit-oriented development plan, and trail access to the Wawa station. 

 

Forum on Local Climate Action and Energy Transition Planning

A photo of wind turbines in a green field with a city skyline in the far background

Recently a number of communities in the Delaware Valley have developed plans that focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to clean energy in order to address climate change at the local level. To help others understand how these plans are created, what issues need to be addressed, and how communities can get started, DVRPC will be hosting an online forum on Tuesday, September 13, from 2-3:30 pm. 

The forum will highlight both Climate Action Planning and Energy Transition Planning processes at the county and municipal levels, including how local governments can use the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Local Climate Action Program (LCAP) to prepare their plans. Speakers who have completed these planning processes or are currently working through them will discuss their public engagement processes, how they identified and prioritized mitigation strategies, how they are working toward implementing their plan recommendations, and lessons learned, among other topics. Register to attend Climate Change Forum: Local Climate Action and Energy Transition Planning.

 

New Trail Funding Available

Logo for the Regional Trails Program "Making Trails Happen"

DVRPC is pleased to announce a funding opportunity through the Regional Trails Program. With the generous support of the William Penn Foundation, up to $1 million is available to acquire right-of-way, plan, design, or construct Circuit Trails, trailheads, gateways, and neighborhood connections. 

This round of funding is specifically for historically and currently underserved communities. Projects need to be located wholly or partially within a Census Tract that has an above average concentration of at least one of the following communities: Ethnic Minority, Foreign-Born, Limited English Proficiency, Low Income, and/or Racial Minority. Applicants can use DVRPC's Equity Analysis map to identify these Census Tracts. Municipalities, counties, state agencies, and nonprofits in DVRPC’s nine-county region with projects in geographies meeting this criteria are eligible for awards of up to $100,000 with no match required. Visit the Funding Opportunity Announcement for more information.

DVRPC’s commitment to making trails happen is part of our vision for the region’s transportation system — one that is safe and modern and fosters greater opportunities for all. If you have questions, contact Shawn Megill Legendre, Manager of the Regional Trails Program, at slegendre@dvrpc.org

 

Regional Safety Task Force to Discuss Distracted Driving 

Logo for the Regional Safety Task Force

Join us on Friday, September 16, from 1:00 - 3:00 pm, for the next Regional Safety Task Force (RSTF) meeting, which will be devoted to distracted driving. Guest speakers will discuss the role of behavioral safety in the Safe System approach and results from a recent case study in identifying distracted drivers in New Jersey. The task force will also review DVRPC’s application to USDOT’s Safe Streets and Roads For All grant program. After the presentations and Q&A, RSTF members will break into groups to discuss strategies to address distracted driving in the region. Register to attend the virtual RSTF meeting.

 

Join Us For a Webinar on Socially Sustainable Local Economies

A photo of a musician performing outside in Philadelphia. A crowd of people stand around the performer.
Photo by Spencer K. Gober, DVRPC

The final session in our three-part Homegrown Economies webinar series is on Friday, September 9. This series provides an in-depth look at ideas captured in DVRPC’s Cultivating a Homegrown Economy, which was published earlier this year. Each part in the series focuses on one of the three pillars of sustainability: economic, environmental, and social–all of which are integral to a successful approach to cultivating a homegrown economy. 

For the September webinar, panelists discuss how to leverage festivals, local folklore, and regionalism in order to grow socially sustainable local economies. Register for the webinar

Missed the previous sessions? View the recordings on economic sustainability and environmental sustainability

 

Upcoming Online LTAP Classes in PA and NJ

A street with road construction signs signaling a flagger ahead and a reduced speed limit

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 classes:

Road Safety Audit
Virtual
September 15, 2022 (8:00 am - 12:00 pm)

CAIT - Workzone Safety Awareness
Virtual
September 27, 2022 (8:00 am - 12:00 pm)

Visit Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation to see the 2022 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.

DVRPC maintains a calendar of events, workshops, and conferences hosted by our partners and related to planning for Greater Philadelphia. Visit our Partner Calendar to learn more.

 

Staff Profile: Stacy Bartels, Manager, Office of TDM Strategy and Marketing

A headshot of Stacy Bartels

What did you want to be growing up? When I was younger I wanted to be an artist or an actor.

What was your first job? My very first job was working at an Orange Julius in the local mall. It was a lot of fun.

What did you study in college? I was an English major and studied journalism and communications specifically for a year in a separate program. 

How did you end up at DVRPC? I had been in Philadelphia for a while working in advertising agencies, and then my husband went to grad school at the University of North Carolina, so we moved there for two years. While there, I handled communications for Durham’s bus company. I had always been a supporter of public transit, but that got me hooked. I learned a lot more about transit, how it operates, and who it serves. We hadn’t planned to stay in North Carolina, so when the job at DVRPC was advertised, I applied. It combined both communications and the transit side of my interests.

What has changed in your role here over time? The most that has changed is the way Transit Demand Management (TDM) works. When I first started, I was mainly responsible for RideECO, which was called TransitChek at the time. Also, we were just starting our Mobility Alternatives Program (MAP), so I was able to help create that and work with our Transit Management Agencies (TMAs). TDM has since broadened. Technology for rideshare has come a long way. We picked up a more formal air quality program and started the Air Quality Partnership, so I had been helping with that for a long time–then I was out of it for a while, but now I am back mostly helping on the marketing side. Also, I have gotten more into project management over the past several years.

What is your favorite part of working at DVRPC? It’s the people we work with–their dedication, their interests, their exuberance about what we do. It’s nice to be with mostly like-minded people working toward an overall common goal. 

If you were Monarch for a day, how would you improve the region? I would focus on equity issues, and that goes across a lot of topics, such as jobs, transportation, housing, and education. Education is one of my “outside” interests. A community’s schools really impact who will move into that community–it’s not just walkable communities or retail downtown. Not everyone who moves there is going to have kids, but housing values are affected by the schools. We all benefit when we have good school systems and educate our children well, so I would focus on how we can improve our schools.

What is your work or life philosophy? I think letting things go is really important–though not always, because sometimes you really have to fight for something you believe in–but letting the little things go. It’s a cliche now, but the whole “grace and space”–giving people extra grace, realizing they may be dealing with something that you have no idea about, and I think that has really come to a head since COVID, but I really try to remember that as I am dealing with people and with myself. You have to give yourself grace sometimes too. 

What 3 words best describe you? Creative, outgoing (which I recently learned is different from being extroverted), and loyal to my friends and family.

What actor would play you in the movie version of your life? We just talked about this recently in our OCE meeting,about which actor you’ve been told you reminded people of. When I was younger, several people would say Geena Davis, so I’d have to go with her even though she hasn’t been in the spotlight lately. She’s a little older, but it would be appropriate.  

What is your favorite leisure activity? Being at the beach doing anything, whether it is playing volleyball, boogie boarding, or just sitting on the beach reading. I find being by the ocean and on the beach very restorative. 

What is your recent obsession? I wouldn’t say I have an obsession, but I have been bingeing some shows. My favorite right now is Only Murders in the Building. I’m not watching the last episode because I don’t want it to end yet. 

What is the last book you read? I’m currently reading The Forgotten, a nonfiction book written by Ben Bradlee, Jr. The book is about how Luzerne County in Pennsylvania is a microcosm of how Trump won the 2016 election. It isn’t politically charged–it’s just trying to find out how this happened when so many people didn’t think it could, showing how the conditions were just right. It’s really interesting, and it involves Lou Barletta (former primary gubernatorial candidate) and how his part in being mayor of Hazelton helped lead up to this. It also talks to individual people about why they either switched over to vote for Trump or why they didn’t vote for him. It’s interesting because it is about Pennsylvania and uses a journalism approach. 

What are your Top 3 places you want to travel to? I want to see more of Europe. My ancestry is technically German, though it is Pennsylvania Dutch German, but I have not been to Germany and would like to go there. I have not been to the American Southwest, and I would really like to see the landscape there. And my kids would like to take me to South America. It hadn’t been on my bucket list, but they have interests there and speak Spanish, so if they wanted to take me, I would be more than happy to go. 

Are you a cat or dog person? I’m both. I love pets. I’ve had turtles, hamsters, dogs, and cats. I love living in or near a city, but I would also love to have goats and chickens.

What is the most meaningful item in your possession? My father passed away in December 2020, and my sister is going through some of the things at my mom’s house, so I don’t have it yet, but I told her that I would like the vise from his workbench. When I see it, it just makes me think of him and the good memories I have of time with him there. 

What are you looking forward to the most post-pandemic? Traveling more freely and seeing more people. 

 

Elise TurnerManager, Office of Communications and Engagement
Air Quality Partnership
Economic Development District

190 N Independence Mall West, 8th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106-1520
215.592.1800