Building Trails the PEC Way

December 22, 2014By: Patrick Starr
PEC Blog

PEC’s trail work makes for a lot of great partners. Building a trail, especially a multi-use trail that is safe for kids and families, is real work!

My week started with the determined Mayor DiGirolamo, leader of Bensalem Township, PA’s 9th largest municipality with 60,000 residents. Located on the Delaware River, it is a linchpin of the proposed East Coast Greenway coursing through Pennsylvania from Trenton, New Jersey to Wilmington Delaware. The Mayor said, “Let’s get it done!” Music to my ears!

Patrick Starr photo new 2

Patrick Starr

By Friday, together with my colleagues Lizzie and Tony, I was in Philadelphia’s Municipal Services Building meeting with the Deputy Streets Commissioner, Mike Carroll to discuss the safety features of a possibly median bikeway on Spring Garden Street. This facility would link Philadelphia’s Delaware River Trail and the Schuylkill River Trail in an innovative way – all would be designated East Coast Greenway trail.

Showing how we work with busy municipal officials, Tony and Lizzie together with PEC traffic engineering consultant Chris Stanford visited Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue median bikeway and New York City’s Allen/Pike median bikeway. They “kicked the tires” and they met with local officials to get the scoop. Gladly, these median bikeways are working well to decrease bicycle accident rates and to dramatically increase bicycle use.

And you know what? Mike Carroll gave us the “green light” to run a key model of traffic on Spring Garden Street to test the impact of the proposed bikeway. Traffic volumes on Spring Garden Street are roughly 20,000 vehicles daily and the future biking use would likely exceed 1,000 daily.

And in the midst of all of this, the William Penn Foundation, Philadelphia’s largest family foundation announced $7 million in grants to build the Circuit, a regional trail network serving the Philadelphia area in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. PEC is a key player in the Circuit, our work has been focused on the ECG, a Circuit “trunkline.”

$6 million in new grant funds will be available to design tricky sections of the Circuit such as the Bensalem Greenway and the Spring Garden Street Greenway! What a week it was!

Looking forward to 2015 – getting more Pennsylvanians outdoors, taking a walk or a bike ride, and exploring Pennsylvanians amazing communities and natural resources!

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