Monday, March 08, 2004

Complete the Streets? ... In your dreams

Woodhaven Road is another one of those transportation studies that poo-poos bikes, pedestrians and transit. For example high speed interchanges will degrade bicycling on Bustleton Ave and possibly Byberry Road and Philmont Avenue.

America Bikes is campaigning for State DOT's to follow Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) guidelines to design "Complete Streets". A complete street is defined as a street that safely accommodates all users including bicycles and pedestrians.

PennDOT claims that they are changing the culture, to their credit they have added a bicycle and pedestrian checklist (Appendix J) to their design manual.

However the following item in the Woodhaven Road FAQ shows that the project manager is not looking at Appendix J and favors PennDOT's usual hands-off approach to pedestrians.


Q: Will sidewalks be placed along County Line Road?

A: At the present time, current design does not account for the incorporation of sidewalks. Constructing sidewalks would use additional land from the adjacent properties. This is another issue that will be explored and resolved during final design. If the township wants sidewalks, they need to provide PENNDOT with a contract stating the township will maintain the sidewalks.

Contrast that answer with what the FHWA says about bikes and pedestrians:

“In the planning, design, and operation of transportation facilities bicyclists and pedestrians should be included as a matter of routine and the decision not to accommodate them should be the exception rather than the rule. There must be exceptional circumstances for denying bicycle and pedestrian access either by prohibition or by designing highways that are incompatible with safe, convenient walking and bicycling.”

Make no mistake. PennDOT is about cars not people, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.