Sunday, November 02, 2003

Hey we just spent $290 million on Route 202 ... But you should really take the bus: Mixed messages from PENNDOT and local politicians as US 202 section 400 is now complete. Meanwhile PENNDOT is discontinuing funding for congestion mitigation strategies such as expanded bus service. Planners now say US 202 should be free flowing until 2015, or at least until the next wave of new big box stores, business parks and condos gobble up the remaining open space.

The US 202 reconstruction has provided some modest improvements for bikes, the Conrail bridge; a pinch point at South Gulph Road has been replaced with a wider underpass with bike lanes. A new bike/ped bridge over I-76 near Bill Smith Rd. will serve the future Chester Valley Trail.

Future construction on US 202 will be designed with bike lanes from Norristown to Welsh Rd. A new 9 mile paved multi-use trail will be constructed in the right of way of US 202 between Welsh Rd and Doylestown.

Still the overall effect of new highway capacity will be negative on transit, bicycling and walking. Without sound land use policies and a healthy communities strategy our auto dependent suburbs will find little incentive to abandon an entrenched sedentary lifestyle.