Thursday, February 19, 2004

Showdown at Aldan Elementary

A turbulant and emotional public hearing on Bicyclists Baltimore Pike was held tonight at Aldan Borough. The meeting was arranged by State Rep. Micozzie. All the politicians present were against the project. One of them suggested that "PENNDOT take an eraser to the project and start over" and if they are not willing to do this then there is no discussion.

Arguments brought forward included a lack of participation in the process, DVRPC project manager Jacob Mallikal and Bicycle Coordinator John Madera held up well to a sometimes hostile audience, noting that changes requested by local communities were incorporated into the design. Many of those who opposed to the project often cited things like children's safety and traffic congestion.

Bicyclists, including 4 Aldan Residents spoke eloquently in favor of the projects, it was clear that some residents in this community do not accept change easily, there were times when people were literally shouting across the room at each other. One Aldan Borough resident stated that she felt misled by the meeting announcement .That the public meeting was really a forum to push their opposition to the project, and that some of the politicians were being obnoxious while DVRPC tried to respond to all of their concerns politely.

BCGP secretary Parker Snowe tried to heal the wounds and summed it up, "I believe that no one in this room is opposed to safer roads for all users." Snowe mentioned that there is more that can be done to improve safety such as creating safe routes to school.

Unfortunately due to opposition to the project it is possible that PENNDOT will put this project on hold, perhaps indefinitely. Delaware County bicyclists should be proud of themselves for standing up at this meeting and will continue working to educate local officials on the benefits of accommodating bicycle travel.